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Weeks spent trying change Kovalchuk's mind

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07:20 AM ET 07.12 | For the better part of four years, the Devils had made Ilya Kovalchuk The Guy in New Jersey. Lou Lamoriello spent weeks trying to talk his superstar out of breaking his commitment to the Devils -- and that, in itself, had to eat away at his soul. This is a man who built an entire franchise around character and loyalty, one who loves to tell people that the team logo is on the front of the jersey and the name is on the back for a reason. ... Meanwhile, Lamoriello faces what might be the biggest challenge of his career now. Can he keep the Devils from collapsing completely? And if not, how quickly can he rebuild the franchise amid ownership uncertainty and without that first-round pick in the upcoming draft? This is as bad as it gets for the Devils.

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Ilya Kovalchuk, Getty Images Ilya Kovalchuk, Getty Images
July 12, 2013  07:57 AM ET

Lou spent weeks trying to talk him out of it? What a croc!!! Lou drove his car to the airport and kicked him in the rear back to Moscow. This was a blessing the size of Hoboken for the cash-strapped Devils. The worst contract in hockey just got airlifted out of town. The Devils would have stunk with or without him. Lou should go to church and give his thanks for this miracle.

July 12, 2013  08:01 AM ET

This is as bad as it gets? Lokomotiv Yaroslavl will tell you it can get worse.

July 12, 2013  09:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Lou spent weeks trying to talk him out of it? What a croc!!! Lou drove his car to the airport and kicked him in the rear back to Moscow. This was a blessing the size of Hoboken for the cash-strapped Devils. The worst contract in hockey just got airlifted out of town. The Devils would have stunk with or without him. Lou should go to church and give his thanks for this miracle.

Ilya-----------all the qualities of a dog--------except loyalty. But, I think you may be right joec.

July 12, 2013  09:07 AM ET

Hey, any hockey news yesterday? Looking forward to this season. Top line of Elias, Zajac and Kovy should be pretty good.

July 12, 2013  09:13 AM ET

In all seriousness, something seems very fishy. If he retires in a few years the Devils get killed by the cap recapture system. And the Isles seemed to care more about keeping a guy they just traded for then the Devils did to keep Kovy (everything I read besides this article seems to suggest Lou didn't try all that hard to keep him).

This is going to stink for the next few years on the ice. But years 5-12, this is going to be huge for the franchise.

Thankfully Lou gave up that pick 2 years ago when we went to the finals (looks around to see who believes me)

July 12, 2013  09:20 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

In all seriousness, something seems very fishy. If he retires in a few years the Devils get killed by the cap recapture system. And the Isles seemed to care more about keeping a guy they just traded for then the Devils did to keep Kovy (everything I read besides this article seems to suggest Lou didn't try all that hard to keep him).

This is going to stink for the next few years on the ice. But years 5-12, this is going to be huge for the franchise.

Thankfully Lou gave up that pick 2 years ago when we went to the finals (looks around to see who believes me)

So - what are the cap ramifications with this, Nard? Are the Devils going to get some type of relief?

July 12, 2013  09:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

So - what are the cap ramifications with this, Nard? Are the Devils going to get some type of relief?

They get hit with losing 250k til 2025. Which let's be honest is half of the league minimum. Which is nothing.

They lose big salary, which helps an owner who is trying to sell the team. They get hurt for the next few years on a cap friendly contract. But the biggest thing is, and this goes for any long term front loaded deals, is they don't have to worry about him retiring with a few years left and getting crushed in the cap recapture system. I read that if he retired in 3 years his cap recapture was going to be 3.6 mil a year, instead of this 250k. So the Devils never have to worry about that.

Can't wait to give huge money to a great winger like Phil Kessel.

July 12, 2013  09:27 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

So - what are the cap ramifications with this, Nard? Are the Devils going to get some type of relief?

Kovalchuk's cap hit of $6.667M comes off the books.

July 12, 2013  09:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Lou spent weeks trying to talk him out of it? What a croc!!! Lou drove his car to the airport and kicked him in the rear back to Moscow. This was a blessing the size of Hoboken for the cash-strapped Devils. The worst contract in hockey just got airlifted out of town. The Devils would have stunk with or without him. Lou should go to church and give his thanks for this miracle.

Good points. I also think Kuntvalchuk's had enough of the rigors of the NHL. He's had a big bull's eye painted on his sweater ever since he signed that huge contract and everybody's been gunning for him. Shut Kuntvalchuk down, you have a good chance to beat the Devils. Obviously Kuntvalchuk doesn't have the stomach to carry this team on his shoulders another year and, with Clarkson signing elsewhere, his job's gotten a little bit harder. His survival instincts have kicked in and .... he's outta here while he still knows who he is. He'll get his money in the KHL just the same. Not good but .... it's the reality.

July 12, 2013  09:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

...They lose big salary, which helps an owner who is trying to sell the team. They get hurt for the next few years on a cap friendly contract. But the biggest thing is, and this goes for any long term front loaded deals, is they don't have to worry about him retiring with a few years left and getting crushed in the cap recapture system. I read that if he retired in 3 years his cap recapture was going to be 3.6 mil a year, instead of this 250k. So the Devils never have to worry about that...

I guess you just take the silver lining then and move on. Could be worse.

July 12, 2013  09:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

They get hit with losing 250k til 2025. Which let's be honest is half of the league minimum. Which is nothing.They lose big salary, which helps an owner who is trying to sell the team. They get hurt for the next few years on a cap friendly contract. But the biggest thing is, and this goes for any long term front loaded deals, is they don't have to worry about him retiring with a few years left and getting crushed in the cap recapture system. I read that if he retired in 3 years his cap recapture was going to be 3.6 mil a year, instead of this 250k. So the Devils never have to worry about that.Can't wait to give huge money to a great winger like Phil Kessel.

only thing I cant understand is why wait till now to do this? He couldnt have done it 2 weeks ago? Just when things were starting to look up when we let Clarkson walk with a slight overpayment, since then its been all bad news, Clowe is farking clackson lite, and we over paid, and now this. Looks like its going to be a long season just like back in the early 80's. I just hope we do go after slow man Jagr now. Lou might have to make some package trades now, maybe the young kids will get to play afterall.

July 12, 2013  09:46 AM ET

So what's with the Ilyas this this year? I've even heard Kuryakin might leave U.N.C.L.E.

July 12, 2013  09:54 AM ET

That's it, time to pack it up and head back to KC.

Comment #14 has been removed
July 12, 2013  09:59 AM ET

"So what's with the Ilyas this this year? I've even heard Kuryakin might leave U.N.C.L.E."

What I get from this Canuck is that you believe that Kovy was a sleeper agent sent to destroy the Devils from the inside (he quite possibly did that to Atlanta as well, but in ways we were not able to suspect until now), and now has been recalled to the homeland.

July 12, 2013  10:01 AM ET

it was a p.o.s. move by a p.o.s. guy. but before receiving his 100 million contract we all knew he was a p.o.s. guy, so really, nobody should be complaining. The devils got exactly what they paid for. I truly believe that signing Kovy to that deal was not Lou's decision, and this is exactly what happens when ownership steps in to make management decisions that they are not qualified to make.

July 12, 2013  10:02 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Lou spent weeks trying to talk him out of it? What a croc!!! Lou drove his car to the airport and kicked him in the rear back to Moscow. This was a blessing the size of Hoboken for the cash-strapped Devils. The worst contract in hockey just got airlifted out of town. The Devils would have stunk with or without him. Lou should go to church and give his thanks for this miracle.

definitely. at this point it's all just p.r.

I have a hard time seeing Lou 'begging' Kovy to stick around, when I'm sure that Lou wanted nothing to do with the signing in the first place.

July 12, 2013  10:04 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

You keep your grubby hands off our superstar.

It's that light at the end of the tunnel. That true superstar

July 12, 2013  10:06 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

only thing I cant understand is why wait till now to do this? He couldnt have done it 2 weeks ago? Just when things were starting to look up when we let Clarkson walk with a slight overpayment, since then its been all bad news, Clowe is farking clackson lite, and we over paid, and now this. Looks like its going to be a long season just like back in the early 80's. I just hope we do go after slow man Jagr now. Lou might have to make some package trades now, maybe the young kids will get to play afterall.

imho, if the devils were gonna lose kovy, then they might as well also lose clarkson and go into proper rebuild mode. They have some pieces and should focus on 3-4 years down the road.

 
July 12, 2013  10:11 AM ET

I would have to believe Lou knew all along what was going on. He will have a plan for this and surprise everyone. Marty probably done..owner in trouble..Lou will smell like a rose when all is said and done.

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