Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Kings didn’t know the structure of the Devils’ proposal and were surprised by the spike after the second season. General Manager Dean Lombardi acknowledged that his offer, made last Thursday in his third round of talks with Kovalchuk, wasn’t in the ballpark.
He felt he couldn’t pay Kovalchuk $11.5 million in any season because that would become the starting point when he negotiates a new deal with defenseman Drew Doughty. He wouldn’t be able to afford Kovalchuk, core players and other pieces, which makes some sense.
But when will an elite free agent agree to come here for less? To come here to win, not to use the Kings as leverage to make financial history?
That’s what Kovalchuk wanted from the start: to trump countryman Alexander Ovechkin, who has a 13-year, $124-million contract with Washington. Kovalchuk will earn more than Ovechkin in six seasons, and he must love that.
Nor was the $102-million total a coincidence. Kovalchuk rejected a 12-year, $101-million offer from Atlanta before the Thrashers traded him to the Devils in February and no one thought he’d equal that. He beat it, if barely.
“...I don’t think there’s another top guy out there right now, so you’ve got to be careful about just running out there and getting a fill that we didn’t really want. So that’s what you’ve got to guard against at this point now. We’ll continue to work through it, but I don’t see anything on the horizon. But I’ve been around long enough to know that something always comes up.”
-LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider where you can read more.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
One member of the Los Angeles Kings management team wondered how the top executives would be feeling today. No doubt GM Dean Lombardi and his lieutenants are a little on the glum side. After all, they missed out on a player some are describing as the best unrestricted free agent in history.
But the sun will rise again, as it always does in Southern California, even if it sometimes does behind a cloudy haze. And when it does, the Kings will be able to pick themselves up and dust themselves off knowing they stood by their convictions and did all the right things.
I feel bad for LA Kings fans today, and offer this consolation prize: Free admission to the Devils Cup parade in Newark next June.
-via a Greg Wyshynski tweet.
added 12:38pm, Greg clarifies his comment on Twitter.
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
One source familiar with the discussions said he’s 98% sure it will get done and that Kovalchuk will be a King. But in a process as bizarre as this one has been at every step, and with neither Kovalchuk’s agent nor Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi willing to comment, that 2% is too much wiggle room.
Among the issues they’re believed to be working on: payment for the 2012-13 season, a season that could be lost to a lockout, and whether the deal will include a no-trade or no-movement clause. And if there is a clause that allows him to veto a trade or specify a number of teams he’d agree to join in a trade, the two sides will have to agree on when it would kick in.
The 2012-13 issue is a real concern to players and teams. If there’s no season, players wouldn’t get paid — but any pre-agreed signing bonuses would have to be paid. Teams don’t want to pay anything if there’s no season, but players want bonuses — or, in a worst-case scenario, to lose as little salary as possible.
“I’ve had a tough three years. t was tougher mentally than it was physically. You need to have faith in yourself, and know that this isn’t going to break you.”
-Justn Williams of the LA Kings via Jason Chamberlain of the Northumberland News where you can read more on Williams.
via Nick Kypreos tweet,
A big swing in the Ilya/Kings talks. Major stumbling blocks have been rectified. A source now described it to me as “close but not done”
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
After talking to a couple of people tonight, I can shed a little more light on the proceedings this week while unrestricted free agent Ilya Kovalchuk was in Los Angeles visiting with the Kings.
As the Los Angeles Times reported earlier, Kovalchuk left Los Angeles Tuesday while his agent, Jay Grossman, stayed behind for a while longer to meet with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. Grossman then left Tuesday night without the sides reaching an agreement on a contract.
From what I understand, neither side has dropped out, but they also are deadlocked in negotiations with neither side budging right now. The Kings have offered a long-term deal in the range of $6 million to $6.5 million per season, The Kovlachuk camp is still sticking to its demands of $10 million per season for 10 years or at least close to that.
At this point, it appears to be a game of chicken with each side waiting for the other to flinch. The Kings feel they’ve gone as far as they can financially without jeopardizing the long-term future of the young core of their team. On the other hand. Kovalchuk and Grossman know they turned down one contract offer for a total of $101 million over 12 years and another for $70 million over seven seasons from the Thrashers in January.
via Helene Elliott tweet,
not confirmed yet but hearing that Kovalchuk to Kings is dead, this time for good. the reason: Kovalchuk wouldn’t compromise on money.
added 10:02pm, via Nick Kypreos tweet,
To throw my 2 cents in, I hear lines of communication remain open between Ilya/LA and talks aren’t dead. Sounds like BS poker continues…
added 10:38pm, via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
As much as I’d like to tell you otherwise — believe me, I’d like nothing more — there’s just nothing to indicate that there’s any finality in the Kings-Kovalchuk situation. I had good reason to believe there would be resolution tonight, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of the team’s parent company, AEG, declined to comment Monday. Lombardi did not respond to several requests for an assessment of where the Kings stand and whether his talks with Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, will continue Tuesday.
Grossman has been silent about his client’s status since last Monday, when he said via Twitter that Kovalchuk’s choices had been “narrowed down.” Much has changed since then, including the Kings’ return to the negotiating table. They twice walked away after deciding they couldn’t fit his salary under the cap, retain their core players and add the players they will need to become a Stanley Cup contender.
Kings captain Dustin Brown said he met Kovalchuk at the rink Monday and was impressed. “I like him. He seemed like a humble and good guy,” Brown said at a launch party for his DLO23 sticks and clothing line.
He added he doesn’t know where the talks stand and is not involved in the process.
Center Jarret Stoll also met Kovalchuk, as did defenseman Matt Greene. “It seemed like he cares about being here and hopefully playing for the Kings,” Stoll said. “He wants to win, and that’s the most important thing for anybody to say and to think.”
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