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.
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.