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

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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.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.