Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
They had anticipated being an attractive option for Kovalchuk and a top-tier defenseman following a season in which they made the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and continued to develop an impressive core of youngsters. But like a few years ago, when they chased defenseman Zdeno Chara, and last summer, when winger Marian Hossa said no, they didn’t succeed.
The trade route is their primary option to pick up a productive winger and experienced, top-four defenseman. They could also sign a restricted free agent to an offer sheet — the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan immediately comes to mind — but the cost would be steep in draft picks and ill will around the league.
more on the situation…
via Helene Elliott tweet,
Kovalchuk says no to Kings. Lombardi: “We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s.”
added 6:09pm, via Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday afternoon that the high-scoring free agent decided against joining the Kings, who had targeted him as the productive winger they urgently need and a marquee player who might generate some buzz around town.
“We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s,” Lombardi said in an email.
He would not elaborate on where the Kings’ offer fell short or where Kovalchuk might be headed.
added 6:46pm, Just in case you believed those internet reports yesterday that the Avs were interested in Kovy…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
And, the Avalanche will NOT be part of the mix in the hunt for Ilya Kovalchuk. Colorado just isn’t a player for the still-free star winger. And who can blame them, really, with Kovalchuk’s purported salary desires.
added 9:46pm, from Elliotte Friedman tweet,
Source: Kings really want Kovalchuk badly, feel he’s exactly what they need…but cannot get him to drop below a contract request of $100 million. Kings feel they have made biggest offer they can without jeopardizing Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson extensions.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
As night fell on the launch of the NHL’s annual exercise in throwing money at problems, the Kings had not signed free-agent left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, the marquee player and prolific scorer they need and had targeted.
They have the resources and cap space and face little competition for the two-time 50-goal scorer. But they didn’t reach an agreement Thursday and General Manager Dean Lombardi, through a team spokesman, declined to comment on the state of the talks.
Word from various corners of the hockey universe was that Kovalchuk is aiming high — think $10 million a year for 10 to 12 years — and the Kings are uncomfortable with that. The deal isn’t dead, but its pulse could be less than robust. The New Jersey Devils might be hovering, ready to remind Kovalchuk that travel in the East is less taxing on the body and worth taking a slightly lower payday.
Heck, may as well start early…
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
The Kings continue to be the front-runners to land two-time 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk providing he doesn’t try to break the bank when the NHL’s free agency period opens Thursday at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Yes, the Kings have talked before about landing impact players and have fallen short. Sometimes woefully short.
But this time they have not only the money and salary cap space but a strong selling point in a young, on-the-rise team that Kovalchuk could lead to Stanley Cup contention for years to come. There are few teams that have the resources or cap space that the Kings do, and from what team governor Tim Leiweke said last week as well as what agents for other players are hearing and seeing as they observe the market, the Kings appear determined to use their money and cap space to acquire the game-breaker they haven’t been able to develop themselves.
From the Kings:
The Los Angeles Kings and Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract extension, Kings Governor Tim Leiweke announced today. In addition, Leiweke and the Kings today announced two-year contract extensions for Kings Vice President/Assistant General Manager Ron Hextall, Kings Vice President/Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs Jeff Solomon, and Kings Head Coach Terry Murray.
Lombardi, Hextall, Solomon and Murray all had one year remaining on their contracts. All four are under contract through the 2012-13 NHL season.
“Dean and his staff want to be here, they want to help finish what we have all started and we feel we are on the verge of something very special, so it was imperative that we keep our nucleus together,” said Leiweke. “The timing was right to do this, and now our focus shifts to the NHL Draft this weekend here at STAPLES Center and LA Live, into free agency next week and to the rest of summer as we look to add a piece or two – the right piece or two—to this great young core we have together here with the Kings.”
From the Los Angeles Times:
Former Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Stevens, who was fired by the team in December, is the Kings’ choice to fill the assistant coaching vacancy created by Mark Hardy’s resignation and has been offered the job, and his hiring could be announced next week, confirmed an NHL source, who was granted anonymity because the organization is not ready to make the decision public.
Key Kings executives know Stevens well. Kings Coach Terry Murray, previously part of the Flyers’ staff, worked with Stevens in Philadelphia, and Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi and assistant GM Ron Hextall are familiar with him from their past employment in the Flyers’ organization.
Rob Blake will announce his retirement tomorrow so why not present to you some of the big time hits given out by Blake.
from Helene Elliott at the Fabulous Forum,
Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy, facing a fourth-degree felony sexual abuse charge, has resigned, a club spokesman said Saturday….
In a statement, the Kings said Hardy had resigned on Friday and they would have no further comment on the matter. The statement said a search for a new assistant coach would begin immediately.
Jarret Stoll helped to enhance the faceoffs in NHL 11. Take a look at the behind the scenes video…
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Dean Lombardi did an interview this morning with a friend of mine, Dustin Nielson, who does the morning show for 1260-AM in Edmonton. Some of the interview covered some familiar ground, but at one point Lombardi was asked about the future of Alexander Frolov, and whether he saw Frolov returning to the Kings or whether it was time to move on….
He’s a good player. I guess at times, like you say, you think he’s capable of more, but he’s still a productive player. But you still now have to really be astute in how you attach a price tag to that, or you’re going to get yourself in trouble down the road, and then all this building we’ve done makes no sense if we can’t keep these young players that have come through our system. So I’m not too optimistic, given what he’s looking for. The other thing we’re confronting here, don’t forget, is the KHL, and they’re offering an awful lot of money…
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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