While he insists he has no preference which team — New York or Washington — advances to the Eastern Conference finals, Ilya Kovalchuk recognizes a matchup with Alex Ovechkin would be pretty cool.
“It doesn’t really matter who we’re going to play against, but for sure it would be something nice,” the Devils forward told NorthJersey.com. “We’re both Russians. We’re pretty much the same age and if they’re going to win it will be his first time on the conference finals too.
“So, I’m pretty sure it will be special for both of us.”
Kovalchuk and Ovechkin have never faced each other in the playoffs, but are quite familiar with each other. They’ve played internationally for Russia at both the Olympics and World Hockey Championships — winning gold together in 2008 — and it was Kovalchuk that famously brokered the Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin reconcilliation back in 2009:
From The Handshake to The Gatorade Squirt, the Ovechkin-Malkin kiss-and-make-up melodrama is easily the top story of the All Star weekend. Well, one thing you should probably know is who was behind the truce. It was none other than Ilya Kovalchuk, the noble southern gentleman and the upright family man that he is.
Friday night, during the dinner with other fellow All Stars, Kovalchuk got the two of them together and proposed to finalize the peace talks (which began earlier that day with the handshaking incident) and make it all official.
Needless to say things won’t be as peaceful should Kovalchuk and Ovechkin cross paths this time around.
“It will be the conference finals,” he explained. “I’m pretty sure everybody will be pumped up and ready to go.”
While Brayden Schenn hopes to hammer out a favorable deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, his brother Luke Schenn inked a two-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Arizona didn’t confirm these details, but the cap hit looks to be $1.25 million, according to reporters including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“We are very pleased to sign Luke to a two-year contract,” New Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He’s a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here. He will be a solid addition to our blue line.”
Chayka is making some significant changes to the Coyotes’ blueline, even if Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still the star of that group.
The Coyotes traded for and then signed Alex Goligoski. They possibly grabbed a falling star in the draft, too, as they selected Jacob Chychrun. Adding Schenn might not be the last move, either.
Schenn isn’t necessarily an analytics darling, but a two-year, $2.5 million deal is reasonable even with some flaws. This contract seems even more reasonable when you consider the five-year, $18 million deal that just expired.
Peter Holland‘s submitted salary request for arbitration is reportedly more than double what the Toronto Maple Leafs proposed.
With that in mind, Monday’s pending hearing serves as a challenging deadline.
Holland’s asking for $2.1 million in 2016-17 while Toronto is offering $900K, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
This comes a day after the Maple Leafs placed Holland on waivers, advancing the argument that he’d be worthy of a two-way deal. He cleared waivers today.
Granted, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle wonders if Holland would clear waivers under normal circumstances:
Holland is a solid player, generating 27 points in 65 games with Toronto last season. He’s a nice enough piece, but with the Maple Leafs in rebuild mode, they’re not exactly anxious to pay supporting cast members more than necessary.
With such a context in mind, it should be intriguing to see how much either side will budge.
At the moment, the Maple Leafs seem to hold the advantage.
It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have some work to do if they hope to avoid an arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn.
The session would take place on Monday, so the clock is ticking.
While the differences in opinion aren’t outright enormous, the Flyers still need to clean up their cap situation, so every $1 million counts. That – plus the length of a deal – seem to be the issue for the 24-year-old forward and the Flyers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
With the Flyers aiming for a two-year agreement while Schenn just wants one, it’s not quite as simple as merely saying “split the difference.”
Then again, that general logic could prove helpful. Perhaps the best path to a deal would be for the Flyers to edge closer to $5.5 million while convincing Schenn to sign for two years rather than one?
Of course, the Flyers could also offer Schenn more security in exchange for giving up some UFA years:
The physical forward really started to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2009 NHL Draft last season, setting career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59).
He’s coming off of a two-year, $5 million contract, so Schenn can take heart in realizing he’s heading toward a healthy raise even if he doesn’t get everything he’s asking for.
Jordan Schroeder might be a depth player for the Minnesota Wild – at least when he’s with the big club – yet his situation provided a decent dollop of drama.
The two sides avoided salary arbitration by settling on a deal on Saturday, but not before the Wild “sent a message” by putting him on waivers.
That message was received, as Schroeder’s one-year contract is a two-way deal.
CBC’s Tim Wharnsby has the details regarding how the salary works out:
Schroeder has 107 regular season games under his belt, yet he’s played more games with the Iowa Wild than the Minnesota Wild since joining the organization.
He might not like it, but a two-way deal makes sense considering his standing with the team.
Granted, there’s the outside chance he’ll flourish under Bruce Boudreau; Schroeder is still just 25 and was the 22nd pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.
If he unexpectedly blossoms, he’d have a lot more leverage next time around.