Skip to content

Now Ilya Kovalchuk is threatening to stay in the KHL

Oct 23, 2012, 11:57 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk AP

First it was Alex Ovechkin threatening to stay in the KHL if the NHL reduced player salaries via rollback or escrow.

Now it’s Ilya Kovalchuk.

“Basically, I don’t rule out staying in Russia in the case of a reduction of our salaries in the NHL,” Kovalchuk told Sportbox.ru (via RT.com). “I just don’t understand why they needed to sign such contracts. Or they were just hoping to cut the percentage later? I believe that the contracts must be respected and this is a fundamental question. There’s no way the head of the [NHL Players’] Association and the hockey players will agree on the wage reduction.”

The NHL will argue that it’s always honored contracts and will continue to do so under the terms of a new CBA. If those terms mean players lose money via escrow, so be it. It’s not like players have never lost money to escrow.

But it’s the principle that counts, say the players.

Also, the money.

Kovalchuk, like Ovechkin, stands to lose more than most to escrow. The 29-year-old is set to earn $11 million next season and $11.3 million the next.

Whether Kovalchuk would 1) actually stay in Russia if his effective NHL salary were reduced or 2) be allowed to continue playing in Russia are two big unknowns. The KHL and NHL have an agreement to honor each other’s contracts, and once a new NHL CBA is signed and the lockout ends, Kovalchuk would once again be under contract to the Devils.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

  2. Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Alex Galchenyuk Getty Images

    The deal is reportedly worth $5.6 million.

  3. Flames prospect Kylington cleared to play in North America

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    Oliver Kylington Getty Images

    At one point he was listed as the top European skater in the 2015 draft.

  4. Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    The Flyers also have forwards Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier locked up.

  5. Zubrus clears waivers, is ‘surprised’ by buyout

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.

  6. Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    PNI Coyotes Deal 0611 PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

    “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

  7. Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One Getty Images

    Vancouver wasting little time locking up the target of Tuesday’s trade.

  8. Bruins in talks with veteran d-man Zidlicky

    Jul 30, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    Boston could use some depth on its back end.

  9. Ex-NHLer Ling charged with battery, theft

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

    David Ling in action Getty Images

    Alleged incident involved a female victim.

  10. Jacobs feels firing Chiarelli was right move, cites cap management

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Jeremy Jacobs Getty Images

    The former general manager “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”

  11. Former NHL forward Berezin arrested for alleged fraud

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

    Sergei Berezin Getty Images

    He played in 502 games, primarily with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  12. Coyotes sign German League standout goalie Treutle

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Niklas Treutle Getty Images

    The 24-year-old gives agreed to an entry-level deal.

  13. Shero: Buying out Zubrus creates flexibility to add forward

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    “It really wasn’t about Dainius himself.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2625)
  2. B. Holtby (2085)
  3. G. Bettman (2077)
  4. A. Larsson (2016)
  5. A. Semin (1665)
  1. L. Couture (1590)
  2. J. Toews (1556)
  3. A. Chiasson (1435)
  4. M. Johansson (1339)
  5. C. Wilson (1199)