Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/16/05 at 11:18 PM ET
lya Kovalchuk missed the first full week of Thrashers training camp and contract talks are going nowhere. The two parties have not spoken since last Thursday. On his Friday morning "Breakfast with Bernie" appearance on 680 The Fan, the Thrashers' corporate broadcast partner, Atlanta Spirit CEO Bernie Mullin spoke about the two sides' differences. Kovalchuk, the league's co-leader in goals in 2003-04, is currently playing in Russia and, if the dispute is not settled by Oct. 5, plans to play a full season there. Mullin said he did not think Kovalchuk could make an equivalent sum in Russia, saying on the radio, "I don't think the economics are there compared to whatever he could average here, $5.5 or $6 [million]." Agents and players say while salaries in Russia might be half of what they are in the NHL, players secretively take home the entire sum tax-free — which makes the true knowledge of those salaries such a shadowy business. In the NHL, with taxes and other deductions, players take home roughly half of their gross.
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