Friday, September 30, 2005

Kovalchuk deal close: Report

I'm hearing reports from Atlanta that a five-year deal for Ilya Kovalchuk to return to the Atlanta Thrashers will be signed shortly. All of the major players — including GM Don Waddell, Thrashers ownership representatives and Kovalchuk's agent Jay Grossman — are meeting at the moment in Washington and are working on negotiationing the contract.
Kovalchuk himself will arrive in New York next week, perhaps even in time for Atlanta's first regular season game on the road against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this whole "I'm staying in Russia" charade was a bargaining ploy — and Kovalchuk's not the first to have employed it this offseason. The unfortunate thing is that the ploy has worked, as Kovalchuk's side has received an offer in excess of $28-million, making it the largest ever deal for a player coming off of his entry-level contract. Expect to see more of these pseudo-holdouts next season.

In any event, the landmark contract will surely buy a lot of diapers for the 22-year-old phenom, who will become a first-time father later this year.


At 2:47 p.m., September 30, 2005, Anonymous Greg said...

When I started reading the diaper sentence, I thought you were going a different way with it :)

Well done.

At 3:57 p.m., September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few things:

1. Kovalchuk will be a father next week or so... that's why he's going to New york. that's where his girlfriend is having the baby.

2. The $28 million contract offer has been out there for weeks from what I've read. That's nothing new.

3. I met Don Waddell in an elevator today in Atlanta around noon. That doesn't mean he hasn't been in New york today or that he's not there now. I'm just saying he wasn't in New york at noon.

At 8:38 p.m., September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The prospects of another cold winter playing in front of small crowds in old, dimly lit rinks clearly didn't hold much appeal, even for native born Russians.

Further, there were media reports a few weeks back that Bryan Allen is still owed a bunch of money from his stint in Russia last year. Good luck ever seeing that money, Bryan. I'm sure stories like that will frighten most players away from taking a flyer on the Russian Elite League.

At 9:53 p.m., September 30, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

1. The story I linked to states why Kovalchuk is going to New York. Still, him being in the U.S. indicates at least that he is there to negotiate and will not be playing in Russia games in the near future (which would bar his return from the NHL).

2. I didn't present the $28-million figure as new information.

3. I said Waddell was in Washington, although as I'm in Toronto, that could certainly not be the case.

I fully believe Kovalchuk will be playing for the Thrashers and likely will be doing so next week. The information I got today said they were close to a contract, so I posted it. No harm, no foul.

At 6:23 p.m., October 01, 2005, Blogger Brushback said...

"Bryan Allen is still owed a bunch of money from his stint in Russia last year. Good luck ever seeing that money, Bryan. I'm sure stories like that will frighten most players away from taking a flyer on the Russian Elite League.

According to this article (which is in Russian, so you'll have to trust me), the hockey team (Khimik) met its obligations, and the debt to Allen was actually owed by a middleman company called Atlantic that was in charge of handling the payment out of Russia. Atlantic is blaming their inability to convert the funds into a Canadian money order (likely story), and Allen will be paid within a few days. The Russian team shouldn't be taking the blame for this.

The first paragraph of your comment doesn't quite cut it, either, but you'll believe what you want to believe.

At 4:32 p.m., October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waddell speak to Grossman by phone on Friday and according to the AJC nobody has moved on their dollar figures but the discussion about contract length has been productive. Rumor has it that Ilya's girfriend had their baby so he should be on his way to New York any day now.

At 9:49 p.m., October 02, 2005, Blogger Brushback said...

Kovalchuk's baby was born on Friday (a daughter, Carolina). His plans are to fly out on the 5th, after he plays what could be his final game for Khimik on the 4th.


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