Kovy Finally Arrives in LA

Later tonight Ilya Kovalchuk will rejoin the Kings for the first time since his visit to their training facility back on July 13th.

Only this time around, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene probably won’t be as accommodating as they were during his last trip to Los Angeles. Having spurned the team for a better contract with New Jersey, he’ll be wearing a Devils sweater when he takes to the ice at Staples Center.

The entire summer romance – er, courtship – between Kings GM Dean Lombardi, Kovy, his agent Jay Grossman and all the parties involved has been chronicled to death. By now, everybody knows how it all turned out. Similar to the Rob Blake situation, fans appear to be split into two camps – some feel rejected (they’re angry), others are glad he didn’t sign here (they’re happy, or at least neutral).

We checked in with three well respected experts from ESPN and Hockey Night in Canada to get their take on the situation. Hopefully, they’ll be able to offer a little bit more of an impartial point of view…

QUESTION:  Any final thoughts on the Kovalchuk situation now that it’s all been wrapped up?

Kelly Hrudey – Hockey Night in Canada

It seems to me like he’s a good fit in New Jersey. We spoke to Lou Lamoriello last year after he was traded there and he raved about how he had fit in and was excited to be there. From that perspective, I think it makes sense. I must say, I’m really happy the NHL jumped in though – in terms of the way the contract was structured. There have been too many cases where teams have front loaded all the deals. They haven’t circumvented the CBA. But, it’s not really in the spirit of the contract either.

Pierre LeBrun – ESPN and Hockey Night in Canada

One disappointment that I have is that the league waited so long to finally, officially interfere. I know they hired outside council to investigate the Luongo, Hossa, Pronger, Savard and some of the other so-called ‘cheat deals.’ But, they didn’t really officially reject a deal until the Kovalchuk one. Certainly, out of all of them, that’s the one that went too far. But, I do think if you’re Lou Lamoriello and you see Vancouver having a $5.3 million cap hit for Roberto Luongo, when you know he’s not going to be playing the last three years of that deal, it is hard to stomach that your franchise was singled out.  But, in the end, I’m happy it happened because I think these ‘cheat deals’ have really questioned the integrity of the system and kind of hurt teams that decided to not go down that path and signed deals that were in good faith and in-line with the actual rules.

QUESTION:  Are the Kings better off with Kovy or without him?

John Buccigross – ESPN  [taken from his season preview on MayorsManor]

They’d certainly be better with him.  He’s scored the second most goals of any player since he’s been in the league.  He’s a dynamic player, has great power play presence.  To plug somebody like that in would be in a no lose situation.  The Western Conference is still very tough – the Blackhawks are weakened, the Red Wings could come back and make a little bit of a resurgence, although age is a factor and they could get injured again.  But, if the Kings could’ve added someone like that, they would’ve had a couple of lines of scoring depth. 

It would have given them a little bit of buzz too, not like Wayne Gretzky buzz – because he isn’t a household name to the casual sport fan.  However, it would have energized the base and then hopefully they would have energized the casual fan themselves in kind of an organic fan base way.  So, it would have been great.  I was rooting for it to happen, just from a national NHL stand point.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It may not have turned out the way some expected, yet it’s finally here.  What many people waited for most of the summer. 

Ilya Kovalchuk will be playing at Staples Center tonight.

This game should be interesting to say the least.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/Mayor119
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

10/30/2010 Kings-Devils Game Preview of sorts – 10 Tidbits on Mattias Norstrom

All three of the hockey experts above stopped by before the season for exclusive interviews…

Kelly Hrudey – Season preview with a focus on Western Conference goaltending

Pierre LeBrun – Letting the world in on his secret, he LOVES the Kings right now

John Buccigross – Only JB can smoothly mix the Kings, the Ducks and Run DMC
.

Recent Articles

SPORTSNET RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on What the NHL Should and Should Not Do Next

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Toronto, where he joined host Roger Lajoie for a look at some of the ideas surrounding what the NHL should and should not do next – from starting the season back up, to the Draft Lottery, to neutral site games, free agency, trades […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven on Kings Season Status, Prospects, and Draft Lottery

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Hot Stove, where John Hoven joined hosts David Pagnotta, Dennis Bernstein, and Ryan Paton to evaluate what’s next for the LA Kings, including: a possible return to the ice, 2020 Draft Lottery, top prospects coming to AHL Ontario, Todd McLellan, roster changes over the summer, compliance buyouts, […]

NHL RADIO REPLAY: Mayor’s Minutes, Report Card on Kings GM Rob Blake

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Network Radio, where John Hoven joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to look at Rob Blake’s past year as LA Kings GM – including how he did with the roster, draft, trades, and prospects, plus a look ahead to what’s next for the organization. […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News