Earlier today, we shared with you a report about how the Flyers and Avalanche were surprise bidders for the services of Ilya Kovalchuk. As it turns out, at least half of that report from Russian tabloid Life Sport was just mistakenly translated. Tom Gulitti from Fire & Ice clears up the mess for us.
On the website Gazeta.ru. Kovalchuk’s Russia-based agent, Yury Nikolaev, denied he said that the Philadlephia Flyers put in a bid for Kovalchuk.
“I never said this,” Nikolaev is quoted as saying in the in the translated English version of Gazeta.ru.
In fact, Nikolaev said he is not involved at all in Kovalchuk’s contract negotiations in North America. “This is the task (of) my Western associates,” Nikolaev said,
Nikolaev does represent Kovalchuk in Russia and is talking to the Kontinental Hockey League on his behalf. He would not predict whether Kovalchuk will sign in the NHL or Russia.
This helps clear up a lot of things about that initial report that began making its way around both about Kovalchuk’s interest and other team’s interest in him as well as about who, exactly, is handling things with him. Safe to say, that unless we’re hearing something from Kovalchuk’s agent in North America, Jay Grossman, we can probably toss it aside as idle and potentially erroneous speculation.
With Adrian Dater of the Denver Post having shot down the supposed interest by the Avalanche in Kovalchuk, it’s perhaps safe to say we’re back to just three known interested in teams for the services of Ilya Kovalchuk. In the meantime, perhaps the Fourth of July weekend should give us a bit of respite from wild rumors. Maybe.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.