...for 5 years
...for 5 years
Kovalchuk retires at age 30. Sucks to be a Devils fan
so glad the Kings didn't sign him.
Wow, he must really miss Russia or just hate it here that much to leave that much money on the table. I wasn't a big fan when the kings tired to get him at first, now I am really happy about it.
There must be more to this story. And yes, at the time I really wanted the Kings to sign him, today would have been devastating.
who's planning to go to the game at Dodgers Stadium on 1/25? anyone know when tickets for that game will go on sale?
I'll be willing to pay way too much money for how far away from the ice we will be for that game.
I haven't made it out to a game in the last 3 seasons but there's no way I'm missing this one. even some of my more casual fans plan on going. if anyone hears any info please post it here :)
I really hope that everything that can go wrong with this does go wrong. From a sinkhole sucking that entire corrugated tin piece of shit right into the center of the earth, to kings and ducks fans killing each other by the hundreds in the bleachers. Dumb fucking idea that is going to get someone killed and ruin the chance of this ever happening up north at a FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRRR more suitable and appropriate venue.
...and nobody in this thread is going unless you win the tickets, work for either of the teams, a season ticket holder, or you're brain dead enough to pay $900+ for a regular season hockey game before the all star break. The odds of coming up on the lottery for this are out of the realm of possibility.
Why Ilya Kovalchuk's case is unique
Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk surprised everyone by announcing he was retiring from the NHL.
Slava Kozlov was the guy you went to if you wanted the truth about Ilya Kovalchuk. When Kovalchuk was a young star in the NHL with the then-Atlanta Thrashers, Kozlov was the wise veteran teammate who had Kovalchuk's complete respect and who minced no words when it came to analyzing the forward's game.
If he thought Kovalchuk wasn't focused enough on defense, he said so. If he thought Kovalchuk needed to do more for the team to win games, he let him know.
They were tight, and nobody knew him better.
In January 2009, Kovalchuk was named captain of the Thrashers. He was given a leadership position with the franchise that drafted him, and there was talk of a long-term deal that would keep him in Atlanta for the next decade -- assuming, of course, the team stayed.
That season, he was the only Thrashers representative on the All-Star team, his third career All-Star Game at just 25. Things were looking pretty good for him and his position in the game.
Then, during a conversation I had with Kozlov, a dose of reality was injected.
"I can only see one problem right now. The KHL. They want him badly," Kozlov said when we chatted about his talented teammate in 2009. "Lots of [Russian] teams want to sign him."
That was more than four years ago and the notion seemed absurd. Back then, NHL stars entering their prime didn't leave for Russia. That was the league for players on the verge of retirement or those who couldn't quite hack it in the NHL.
But Kozlov knew there was a real pull there -- on both sides. Kovalchuk was as big, if not bigger, than any other Russian hockey player in his native country. He was always the star of the Russian team that played in the world championships; the Thrashers' annual ineptitude gave him an entire spring to play for his country.
And inevitably, when it came time to negotiate a contract, the threat to return to Russia was always there. It was there when Kovalchuk hit the market in 2010, driving up the price after it appeared the New Jersey Devils and a lukewarm effort by the Los Angeles Kings were his only shots at big money in free agency. It was even there in 2005, when Kovalchuk was a restricted free agent and his camp was negotiating a deal (and the KHL didn't even exist yet).
When the most recent lockout ended, Kovalchuk wanted to stay at home. He told a Russian reporter that he wanted to read the new CBA agreement before making a decision whether to return to New Jersey.
To play at home has been a legitimate option for Kovalchuk from just about the moment he arrived in North America, but it didn't make Thursday's news any less stunning -- a 30-year-old leaving the NHL and $77 million on the table.
But it does make it less likely that we're seeing the start of some leaguewide trend. Nashville forward Sergei Kostitsyn recently left the Predators to play for the KHL, and they happily terminated his contract, which had one year remaining. The Devils are expected to terminate Kovalchuk's contract as well, saving millions of dollars and potential penalties because of the cap recapture clause. It's a huge short-term loss for the Devils, but long term? It's not the worst thing ever to happen to the franchise.
And according to an NHL source, if Kovalchuk changed his mind and wanted to return to the league, the Devils still would have his rights.
Some teams wouldn't be so willing to let their Russian players leave under similar circumstances. But the league isn't fighting this because the Devils aren't fighting it.
That might not be the case if, say, Evgeni Malkin decided to sign with the KHL in the morning. In other high-profile cases, there wouldn't be a mutual voiding of the contract; there would be a fight.
For now, this appears to be an isolated case. At least that has to be the hope, especially for teams built around a standout Russian player.
When I asked one general manager Thursday evening if teams should be concerned, he admitted uncertainty.
"I don't know," he said. "I would suspect this is a unique situation."
Another GM said the bigger impact will be in the draft, where he'd be less likely to use a top pick on a Russian player after Kovalchuk's decision to leave for the KHL. And if teams aren't using top picks on the best Russian players, there's even less motivation for them to come to the NHL. The NHL might not be losing its biggest stars now, but the eventual problem might be that the stars never go to North America in the first place.
Kovalchuk is certainly unique among today's star Russians. He left the team that drafted him because he wanted to win, something he couldn't do alone. Before he was traded, he watched teammates like Marc Savard, Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa take off, leaving him alone as the biggest name to carry the team. And at the time, the Atlanta ownership situation was as unstable as any in the league, with the ownership group searching desperately for a buyer.
So Kovalchuk chose New Jersey as the place to chase a Stanley Cup. It was a franchise of stability led by one of the most respected men in hockey, and it was a franchise that typically made the playoffs, something that happened just once in Atlanta.
But in parts of four seasons with the Devils, he's played for three coaches. He's watched stars Zach Parise and David Clarkson leave the organization, and another star, Martin Brodeur, is on his way out. Again, he was expected to carry a team this season.
The ownership mess in New Jersey has to look familiar to a player who saw firsthand how destructive to a franchise that instability can be. In June, the New York Post reported that the Devils missed an interest payment, risked defaulting on their loan, and were also receiving financial assistance from the NHL.
The team Kovalchuk is leaving now doesn't look all that different from the one he left before, which might be another reason he's off to the KHL.
what exactly makes this a dumb idea and how would someone die? the outdoor games have been a huge success for the NHL and I see no reason that a couple more games would change that - even with one of the games in sunny southern california. The Kings already played one of the first outdoor NHL games back in the 90s in Las Vegas in the late summer and only had some minor issues with the ice so I don't see a problem keeping the ice frozen in winter.
with 50,000+ seats, I can't imagine that ticket prices for this would be that inflated. Staples is an 18k seat venue and I don't believe that Anaheim is any bigger than that. Season seat holders in LA makes up about 15k of those 18k seats and I think Anaheim is under 7k so that leaves quite a few tickets available for the non-diehards. I would expect that the average price of a ticket would be closer to $80-100, wouldn't it? if it does turn out to be ~$900 for a ticket I think I'd pass and watch the game on TV, but I don't expect that to be the case.
thankfully, one of my close friends is closely affiliated with the Ducks (I don't hold that against her too much) so I might be able to score a really good ticket even if it's that expensive (though the cost of being surrounded by duck fans could make it even more costly ;) )
but if you really do want a game up north, I think you should be cheering for this and hoping that it's a huge success or the chances are slim to til of that ever happening.
Grandma thinks that it is a dumb idea because it doesn't involve the sharks.
I'm a season ticket holder so seems I'll get in without too much hassle. Already got an email on it from my rep. I'll try to keep folks here posted if I hear anymore details for public sale.
I had a very eloquent response as to why Dodger stadium is the last place a hockey game should ever be played in but then I had to read this nugget of stone cold dipshittery...
You really are a wagon painting retard. Nobody worth a fuck gives 2 shits about the tepid rivalry between the kings and the ducks except delusional bandwagoners like you and cholos who spell gretZky with an S. You've been watching hockey for what...3 years now? You know fuck all and the above quote proves it.
Doesn't matter. Kings kick the crap outta both teams of late. And we have the best goaltender in the league. Sharks have the best... uh, crap I dunno. Best run at losing in the second round, I guess? Ducks have the best.... um... mascot? Maybe you could bring back the Iceman too!
Oda ley vatos!
/3 year fan
oh grandma... you can do better than that.
Gets me every time.
Yet another reason to love the Sharks.
Teemu returns for his final season.
Game on bitches!
yay! a full season PLUS olympic hockey!
The Sharks are back this Thursday. I hope the Canucks are bringing lube to the tank, they're gonna need it.
Enjoying the DTV Center Ice preview. And got next week home opener against the Rags to look forward to. Let's Go Kings!
You see that shit tonight? Fuck the Ducks. Roy running this shit.
Fuck the ducks, yes, but Roy reminded me of Mike Singletary there.