It seems that Ilya Kovalchuk’s quest to have his hockey cake and eat it too continues, even if the journey seems to be fueled by delusions.
Helene Elliott reports that the Los Angeles Kings – widely considered Kovalchuk’s most logical suitors – have been turned down by the seemingly picky Russian. All signs indicate that Kings GM Dean Lombardi is past the point of frustration when it comes to reaching a compromise with the high-scoring left winger.
“We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s,” Lombardi said in an email.
He would not elaborate on where the Kings’ offer fell short or where Kovalchuk might be headed. The New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have also shown interest in signing the dynamic winger, who earlier this year turned down offers from Atlanta worth $101 million over 12 years and $70 million over seven years.
This summer’s been a rough one for the league’s biggest names in unrestricted free agency. Kovalchuk isn’t alone when it comes to having a price tag that NHL teams seem disinterested in meeting. Both Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco appeared to get bad advice – or simply misread the market – as general managers opted to go with cheaper options in net.
At some point, Kovalchuk will have to decide if he’s willing to make a compromise to find the right fit with a good NHL team or if he’d rather just get the best possible paycheck in Russia or perhaps Long Island. (It’s noteworthy to mention that at least one Islanders blogger is against the idea of sending Kovalchuk a hefty 10-year, $100 million-type contract, too.)
I think we’ll learn a lot about Kovalchuk’s priorities once he finally signs a deal. He’d probably be better off either a) signing a Marian Hossa-type deal that gives him long-term security while providing his team with salary cap relief or b) going with a one or two-year contract so he can prove that he’s actually worth a risky 10-year commitment. The other possibilities include signing a long, huge deal with a bad team, being a little more reasonable with term but still get paid a lot per season (maybe four-year, $40 million?) or just taking the big bucks with the KHL.
Chances are we won’t hear much on this holiday, but perhaps the true fireworks will go up on Monday. Stay tuned, hockey fans.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Bill Foley is “9.5” confident that the NHL will grant him an expansion team for Las Vegas.
That was the main takeaway from an interview Foley did with KSNV NBC in Las Vegas.
At the same time, despite his high level of confidence, Foley would appreciate an answer sooner rather than later — especially if the team is to start playing in 2017-18.
” I don’t want to give the league too much time,” he said, smiling. “They’re doing their job, they’re doing their process and so on. We would really like to have the word by June.”
Foley was asked what he believed to be the biggest “concern” the NHL had about expansion. He replied that it was a matter of whether the league expanded by one team or two (Quebec City has also applied for a franchise), but also the expansion draft.
“Who’s available in the draft? Are players with no-trade clauses…are they going to be part of the draft or not part of the draft?” Foley wondered. “So the owners and the league have a lot of things to do and to figure out.”
Full video of the interview can be found here.
Related: Bettman rejects notion that the NHL is waiting for Seattle
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.