There’s no telling how interested Ilya Kovalchuk would be in playing for the KHL, but that didn’t stop the deep-pocketed SKA St. Petersburg club from renewing their interest in the star sniper.
Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the team got in touch with Kovalchuk’s Russian agent Yuri Nikolaev soon after word got out that the NHL’s decision to reject his 17-year, $102 million contract was upheld. Here is what Nikolaev said to Chesnokov regarding the KHL team’s new (or perhaps old?) offer.
What options did [the club] offer?
“Everything is up to Ilya: anything from one to eight years. I like the fact that SKA is holding the solid position they took from the very beginning of the negotiations. Regardless of what is going on in America. I like how the team management is acting in this negotiation process. They are very straight. No one is trying to blackmail us. There is a position — ‘it’s your choice.’ If we want to change something, that’s fine to [change] it either way. It’s very flexible and right.”
While I wouldn’t be shocked if Kovalchuk & Co. were using the KHL simply to improve his “bargaining power,” it never hurts to take a look at every option possible. While the rival Russian league does have a salary cap of its own, the article points out that exceeding it would simply force SKA St. Petersburg to pay a luxury tax (something the NHL should consider instituting if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t end the hockey world as we know it).
This Kovalchuk story has more legs than a dog pound and – even if many of the details seem tedious or even redundant – we will keep you up to date with the latest news, statements and scuttlebutt.