Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
Kings captain Dustin Brown will be the guest of honor tonight at the House of Blues in Anaheim at the launching of Combat Sports’ new DLo23 line of hockey sticks, which he plans to use next season.
The sticks and a planned apparel line will be manufactured in North America, and the company’s offices are in Ottawa and Kent, Wash. Brown is the company’s lone NHL endorser, according to his agent, Scott Norton.
Norton also provided an explanation for the name DLo23, beyond the obvious inclusion of Brown’s uniform number.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
How many times now have the Los Angeles Kings entered and exited the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes? Twice? Three times? Eleventy-two (as Lucy Van Pelt famously once said to Charlie Brown).
It sure seems like a lot of hemming and hawing and it sure seems to be creating a lot of stress for people; those who figure that 12 days after he officially became eligible for unrestricted free agency, Kovalchuk should do us all a favour, make his decision and let everybody get on with their summers.
Me? I’m not stressed at all (a couple of days on the chuckwagon beat will do wonders for clearing your mind).
On the contrary, I applaud the fact that both player and NHL team are taking their time and trying to get the deal right.
However this plays out, Kovalchuk’s next deal will likely be his last one, a lifetime commitment to his next city and team of employ.
via a Daren Millard tweet,
Kovy-gate comes 2 an end tomorrow. Kings win the process.. Don’t want announcment 2 get overshadowed by WC.
added 6:25pm, via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
No confirmation yet. One strong team source has just said that there is “continued engagement,” but that no announcement is imminent. Updates will be forthcoming if necessary.
added 6:52pm, via Pieree LeBrun tweet,
For all those asking, yes - Kings and Kovalchuk are talking again.
added 7:00pm, via Darren Dreger tweet,
Lombardi tells TSN. “Ilya Kovalchuk is coming to Los Angeles for face to face discussions, just like any free agent would. We are a long way from agreeing on a contract.”
added 7:20pm, via Helene Elliott tweet,
Hold off on buying Kovalchuk King jerseys. Lombardi: “reports of us signing him are utterly false.”
via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider, “
Kovalchuk is only coming here for a visit,” Lombardi said. “It is a great opportunity for him to meet us and us to meet him. Reports of us announcing a signing tomorrow are utterly false.”
added 7:48pm, via a Pierre LeBrun tweet,
“Ilya is coming out to LA,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi told ESPN.com Sunday night. ``We’re going to meet face to face. But reports that we are announcing his signing tomorrow are utterly and completely false. We have no deal. We’re not even close. I mean, who knows, maybe we’ll get close tomorrow but we have no deal right now.”
added 8:30pm, from Sportsnet,
While Lombardi has said a contract announcement is not imminent, sources tell Sportsnet that Kovalchuk has been adamant this past week in finding a way to bridge the negotiating gap between the two parties.
The source also says, despite the Kings’ demands to sign Kovalchuk to a term and dollar amount that fits their plans, L.A. has been the No. 1 choice destination for the Russian winger and his wife since free agency started July 1st.
from Jeff Arnold of AnnArbor.com,
Each summer, the fourth-year Los Angeles Kings defenseman returns to Ann Arbor, enrolls in summer school and continues to chip away at his general studies degree. Although he hasn’t experienced life as a full-time student for three years, Johnson relishes his time on campus.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Johnson said on Thursday. “If it was easy, everyone who left would do it. I’m not in a race to get it, but I know if I stop, it will be hard to start up again.
“I can’t play hockey forever, unfortunately. I will have the second half of my life ahead of me, and I want that degree.”
During the NHL season, Johnson, who is 23, takes classes online, using off-days to study and complete coursework. Technology, including video conferencing and Web tutorials, has made distance learning easier, but balancing school with an NHL career isn’t easy.
The fact Johnson continues to work toward a degree impresses Berenson.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
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.
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
The Kings, who became “reengaged” in talks with free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk on Tuesday, according to General Manager Dean Lombardi, have received a proposal from Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman.
However, the proposed deal is so complex—and the ramifications so big from the Kings’ perspective—that they are not expected to respond for at least a day and possibly longer.
The Kings dropped out of the hunt Sunday, after Kovalchuk’s representative did not submit a counteroffer to the Kings’ initial proposals. Kovalchuk’s only other confirmed NHL suitor has been the New Jersey Devils, but they would have to clear substantial salary cap space to sign him, and they have not made any transactions that would allow them to sign the 27-year-old left wing.
The KHL in Kovalchuk’s native Russia appears to be his other option. The money there is big and tax-free, but he obviously couldn’t win the Stanley Cup there—if that, indeed, means more to him than a big payday.
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