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Returning To The Motherland?

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

We’ve been told for years that a day like this was coming.

Ever since the Kontinental Hockey League came into existence in 2008 and promptly brought Alexander Radulov and Jaromir Jagr over to Russia, the spectre of a rival league that could lure top-level talent away from the NHL hung over the hockey world.

Finally, the KHL has its poster boy.

That Ilya Kovalchuk is headed home in the prime of his career just months before the Olympic Games are held in Sochi, Russia is probably not a coincidence. The financial incentive for someone in his skates has never been greater; neither has the pressure from those with power and influence.

And even though there probably won’t be a flood of players chasing immediately behind him, one industry source with strong ties in Europe wondered aloud Thursday: “The big question is who is joining him?”

For now, that remains to be seen.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Primis's avatar

I don’t think Kovalchuk is in his “prime”.  He’s just past that.  I understand the point being made but…. this is not a Russian NHL superstar leaving just as he’s hitting his stride.  This is a Russian NHL star leaving as his skills are juuussstt starting to erode.  And Ilya knows it.

Posted by Primis on 07/12/13 at 09:23 AM ET

Avatar

“The big question is who is joining him?”

Not Pavel Datsyuk.

Posted by Garth on 07/12/13 at 10:10 AM ET

pautna's avatar

I agree with Primis and would add that it seems more like the single act of a self-centered person who doesn’t have the character to fulfill his his legal or ethical obligations.

When the Kings were courting him, they flew him out to LA. After he signed with the Devils there was a rumor that he had no intention on signing with the Kings, but he came out because his wife wanted a free trip to Hollywood. I doubted the the story at the time, but now wonder if it’s true since he’s displayed a general lack of integrity.

Posted by pautna on 07/12/13 at 10:19 AM ET

Avatar

When the Kings were courting him, they flew him out to LA. After he signed with the Devils there was a rumor that he had no intention on signing with the Kings, but he came out because his wife wanted a free trip to Hollywood. I doubted the the story at the time, but now wonder if it’s true since he’s displayed a general lack of integrity.

So you think Kovy thought it was worth his time spending days meeting with the Kings, so that he wouldn’t have to pay the equivalent of 1/8th of a pre-game skate of his salary to finance the trip himself?

Posted by Mr. Fnytelhatt on 07/12/13 at 12:14 PM ET

Primis's avatar

So you think Kovy thought it was worth his time spending days meeting with the Kings, so that he wouldn’t have to pay the equivalent of 1/8th of a pre-game skate of his salary to finance the trip himself?

Posted by Mr. Fnytelhatt on 07/12/13 at 01:14 PM ET

The NFL for years had this problem with the Pro Bowl.  Guys would fly in with their families and then… suddenly develop an injury that kept them from playing in the game!  You know, once they and their family were in *Hawaii*.  Free vacation!

It happens.  Don’t you doubt it for a second.

Posted by Primis on 07/12/13 at 01:09 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

So you think Kovy thought it was worth his time spending days meeting with the Kings, so that he wouldn’t have to pay the equivalent of 1/8th of a pre-game skate of his salary to finance the trip himself?

I’m a big fan of conspiracy theories but I share your skepticism here.  If there was an ulterior motive for the Kings trip it was pretty clearly negotiating leverage, not free air miles.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 07/12/13 at 01:09 PM ET

pautna's avatar

@Mr. Fnytellhatt, did I say that? No. I said, I now ‘wonder’ if it’s true, questioning his overall character. Secondly, then and now I believe the main reason he went through the motions with the Kings, was for leverage, or to get his precious $100 million dollar deal from the Devils. Finally, “...to pay the equivalent of 1/8th of a pre-game skate of his salary to finance the trip himself?” Are you referring to his “salary” at the time, which was nothing? Or after he signed the deal, which doesn’t really make sense.

Posted by pautna on 07/12/13 at 01:20 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

My how things have changed. Who could have imagined players leaving North America to go Russia? Used to be the other way around.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 07/12/13 at 05:09 PM ET

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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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