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Having Any Second Thoughts?

The fact that the Ilya Kovalchuk impasse will drag out at least another day shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  It would have been naive (read: I was naive) to believe reports that an answer would come from the League today.

This will-he-or-won’t-he question has lingered since the superstar left winger was traded to New Jersey in February.  It stayed unanswered through weeks of courtship from the Kings and Devils in July and it could remain that way—God, forbid—if this contract is dismissed once again by the suits on Sixth Avenue.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that will be the case this time.

If Nick Kypreos was right on Monday, and this new deal really is two years shorter and more reasonably spread out in terms of payout, this might finally all be over. 

But, how do Devils fans feel about that?

Have any doubts crept up in these 63 days?

For nearly two decades, the New Jersey Devils have been one of the National Hockey League’s model franchises.  They’ve done so by being blue-collar, workmanlike and with few peers in terms of success.  No frills, just results. 

This signing, which flies in the face of everything Lou Lamoriello has stood for over the last 23 years, will define the franchise for the foreseeable future.

There’s no doubt that he makes New Jersey a more skillful, entertaining team.

The question is: Can Ilya do what success—in the form of three Stanley Cups, four conference championships and 10 division titles—never did?

Can he fill the building on a nightly basis?  Can he make Newark the East Coast’s very own Hockeytown? 

Or will Devils fans come to look back on this summer with regret?  I’m hoping for the former, but I’m not so sure.

An answer on whether Ilya Kovalchuk will be a New Jersey Devil will likely come tomorrow.

Those other answers are going to take a bit more time.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Comments

pomthillips's avatar

If I’m a Devils fan, I want him on my team.  He gives them an elite top-6 that can match just about any team in the league.  I’m interested to see how their forward lines shake out, as well as how many points Kovy can produce on the always defense-first Devils.  Now, will Kovalchuk come through in the playoffs?  NJ is betting he’ll do better than the 2 goals in 5 games he had in the last playoffs.

Another thing to consider is if Kovalchuk’s defensive limitations ever become an issue.  Devils fans might then begin to question the 15?-year marriage.  That said, I don’t anticipate that happening.  They know what they’re getting: a goal-scorer.  On that not…

Whether or not he’ll fill the arena I think boils down to whether he competes for the Maurice Richard Trophy.  That would excite the fans and lead to some sellouts.

Posted by pomthillips from Ann Arbor, Michigan on 09/01/10 at 02:50 PM ET

Avatar

They know what they’re getting: a goal-scorer.

I think you’re spot-on there.  Anyone expecting much of anything on the defensive side from Kovalchuk will be waiting quite a while. 

With all this attention Ilya has gotten this summer, the pressure is going to be laid on thick to perform. 

But if he can handle it and contend for some end-of-season hardware the Prudential Center will rock like it did at the tail end of last year. 

I, for one, want it to work.

Posted by michaelsmith1994 from New Jersey on 09/01/10 at 04:56 PM ET

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