Well, after 16 days of chaos, it looks like Ilya Kovalchuk has finally come to a decision. That is if you can take his American agent Jay Grossman at his word via this tweet:
Jay_Grossman: Ilya Kovalchuk will make his decision today (for sure, this time!).
Personally, I don't care either way. As long as the Rangers aren't involved, we're good.
It would still be nice to get a conclusion so we can get on with the rest of the summer. Just don't hold your breath.
UPDATE: Based on a tweet from the New Jersey Devils, it looks like Kovalchuk is returning.
NHLDevils: HE'S BACK: Ilya Kovalchuk signs with the Devils. Press conference scheduled for Tuesday at the Rock.
Simply amazing. Honestly, he and his agent teased everyone. Especially the Kings. Leaking the announcement irks me. I wanted to find out from the man himself. But the Devils ruined it. Guess they just couldn't wait to rub it in everyone's faces. Nothing like good PR. Did we just say that about a Lou Lams run franchise? The Devs have changed. Thank Jeff Vanderbeek.
What this does ensure is the Devils must start cutting payroll. Likely candidates are Brian Rolston, Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus. Let the firesale commence.
UPDATE II: Per reliable Puck Daddy Russian reporter Dmitry Chesnokov, it looks like Kovalchuk's deal is for
dchesnokov Kovalchuk's mother tells Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport that Kovalchuk's deal with #NJD is for 17 years.
Wow. That is insanity. Nobody can ever talk about the Devils being fiscally responsible after this. They just committed 17 years to Kovalchuk, who by the end of the contract, would be 44. I thought these kinda deals were done but apparently not. Even the great Lou has lost it. Anything to justify the means I guess. He does make their club stronger at least on paper. Whether it finally translates to New Jersey going deep in the playoffs remains to be seen. Also up in for debate is how this megasigning affects Zach Parise, who turns restricted next summer. There could be a lot more changes coming to Newark over the next year.
The press conference is tomorrow live at The Prudential Center at 1 ET.
UPDATE III: Per Chesnokov, it looks like the deal is 17 years for over $100 million. Yikes. What lockout?!?!?!?!?! Guess there's gonna be another one. I am mystified.
dchesnokov The 17 years, $100m+ for Kovalchuk is what I stand by.
It should be interesting to see the particulars. I don't know anymore. I now think 2004-05 was a total farce.