Sound the broken record: Kings, Kovalchuk fall short of a deal again


kovalyawn.jpgIt’s now been a solid week of Ilya Kovalchuk rumors, whining and (perhaps) tiresome greed.* Maybe you’re still riveted by the whole saga, but my guess is that most of the hockey world is worn out by the talk.

* – And not just tiresome greed on Kovalchuk’s part, either. Watching this situation play out is a lot like watching those two amoral rich guys from “Trading Places” getting into a slap-fight.

Still, the discussion wages on and we’ll take you through it. Details emerged of Kovalchuk’s renewed (yet fruitless) talks with the Los Angeles Kings. LA Times beat writer Helene Elliot provides some numbers from unnamed sources.

Attracted by Kovalchuk’s production and electrifying style, the Kings reportedly offered him $63 million over 12 years, an annual cap hit of $5.25 million, or $84.5 million over 13 years, an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

Several sources familiar with the situation but not authorized to talk publicly said Kovalchuk hasn’t compromised on an average annual value of $10 million, close to the NHL-leading $9.538-million average Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin earns in a 13-year deal.

The Kings say they can’t accommodate Kovalchuk, retain their core and bring in the support players necessary to become a consistent Stanley Cup contender.

Kovalchuk seems to be at a pretty obvious fork in the contract talk road. If he turns left, he could receive those huge wads of cash that he really wants – or something close to his dream deal – but there’s a catch; he’d have to continue to be a star on a dimly lit team of misfits. He has the option of going right, too, though. In that scenario, Kovalchuk would sacrifice a few million (maybe per year) to play meaningful hockey for a contender.

Obviously, he wants both, but after seven days of hand-wringing does he expect the perfect situation to pop out of mid-air like some monetary genie? Is he simply struggling with this fork in the road? Perhaps he wants Lebron James to decide his basketball future so the Russian left-winger could get more spotlight to himself?

It might seem like we’re playing an Ilya Kovalchuk broken record, but we’re doing all that we can to keep you informed about the situation. Of course, sometimes the message can get muddled through all the back-and-forth and the many smoke screens supplied by both sides.

Who knows, we might even stumble upon something of substance this weekend.

NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.