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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More on the Ilya Kovalchuk situation

Pass the dust, I think I'm Bowie

Last night on the Ilya Kovalchuk web site, www.kovy.ru, a post was added mentioning the Dany Heatley trade to Ottawa, and a discussion of Kovalchuk's ongoing contract negotiations with the Russian team, Khimik Voskresensk: "As reported yesterday in Soviet Sport, Ilya Kovalchuk and his agent conducted negotiations with Khimik late into Monday night, but so far Kovalchuk has not signed a contract with the Moscow club. Certainly, Khimik will not be able give equal money with Atlanta, who has the rights to Ilya overseas: the market price of Kovalchuk in the NHL is not less than $6-$6.5 million per year. But, not everything is based on money. Plusses for Ilya would be playing near Moscow, and that taxes in Russia are lower. The main thing is that with Khimik, most probably there will be a concluded insurance contract. If Atlanta does not make a worthy proposal to Ilya, he will begin the season in the Super League."

I'm guessing that "concluded insurance" means "guaranteed", but I'm not exactly sure, because I believe that contracts in the NHL are also guaranteed once the season starts anyway. I think that Atlanta has about $8 million in cap room left to sign Kovalchuk and finish whatever other deals they're still working on, though that number could be higher or lower depending upon how the contracts of players like Marian Hossa are structured.

The story about Bettman forbidding NHL teams from signing Russian players doesn't seem to be getting much legs here in the States, other than a pretty comprehensive mention on the Hockey Rodent web site (way better than my crummy translation from a day or so ago, that's for sure). There's been some strong reaction on the Russian news sites, however. A story on Soviet Sport, headlined "Russians aren't necessary to the NHL?", shows that the Russian clubs are appreciative of the NHL and Bettman acknowledging that Russian teams have legitimate contracts with their players, while also being very worried that this could lead to a huge legal mess as countless Russian players try to get out their contracts in order to be able to go overseas, by claiming that they signed their contracts under pressure or by using other loopholes.

(8/24, 9:50pm)Update: More comments from Kovalchuk have been added to the web site, from an interview with Soviet Sport.

About the Dany Heatley trade: "I cannot believe that Heatley was traded. There was information that Dany himself requested the trade... We played together for three years, we almost became like relatives. Heatley was one of the brightest forwards in the NHL. It's a pity that he's left. I am left without a friend, to be together with as a team, to play as a unit, to sit next to in the locker room... life goes on. As far as I know, Heatley signed a 3-year deal with Ottawa, and after that, Dany will be an unlimited free agent. Perhaps then we will play again on the same team."

About staying to play in Russia: "I am ready to start training in Voskresensk. It is very possible that within a day I will sign a contract with Khimik, but it will be without obligation, so that if my contract situation overseas is resolved I can still return to America. I may play in Russia at least until October 6th, when the season begins in the NHL. If it is necessary to play in Russia the entire season, it is possible that I will switch teams in the Super League, or continue to play for Khimik. I can only speak in general, and not speak specifically."

5 Comments:

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8/24/05, 10:12 PM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

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8/24/05, 10:46 PM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

8/25
Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins' top draft pick of a year ago, is going to stay to play in Russia one more year. There's an interview done by Sport-Express with the GM of Malkin's Russian team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which you can read on Russian Hockey Digest. He sounds pretty acrimonious at times. Russian Hockey Digest also has an interview with Ilya Kovalchuk that was done by Sport Express, which covers most of the same ground as the interview with Soviet Sport, though some of the details are different (Kovalchuk now might only play in Russia until Oct. 1st). I think what I mistook as "guaranteed contract" in the statement on Kovalchuk's web site is actually "security contract", which is not a full contract.

8/25/05, 11:23 AM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

8/26
Still more on Evgeni Malkin, this time a Sport-Express interview with Malkin himself, taken from Russian Hockey Digest. Basically, he thinks his team (Mettalurg Magnitogorsk) has a good chance of winning the RSL championship this year, as well as he'd like another year to work on his game and make the Russian Olympic team.

8/26/05, 10:32 AM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

This just popped up on the Russian Hockey Digest web site:

Soviet Sport: August 29, 2005

Ilya Kovalchuk: "So far I haven't signed a security contract with the Super League's club Khimik from Moscow region. I'm going to do it before September 1st. I will practice individually from August 29 to August 31. Then, I'm going to go to New York for three days; I have to bring my girlfriend Nicole to a clinic, we are waiting for a baby in a month. After that, I'll come back to Moscow, and starting September 5th I will practice in Khimik. They bring my name to the official roster for the Russian Championship. After practicing about ten days, I'll play in the Super League. Why not? So far, there are no updates from overseas. But my agent told me that I may receive some news from Atlanta this week that would change my plans all the way around."

8/28/05, 9:41 PM

 

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