No, there's nothing new to report on the Ilya Kovalchuk front yet. Truth be told there's been no legitimate news on the talented Russian since free agency opened on July 1. Sure, there've been a lot of rumors. Maybe one or two of them have even been true, but it seems like for every kernel of information that may be true there's a bunch of stuff that just is not. To wit, let's take a look at the many twists and turns of this saga so far.
Day 1 - It looked like he was headed to LA, they were in on the bidding and we were told they were on the verge of a major announcement...then two days later, they backed out with Dean Lombardi indicating they could not give Kovy what he wanted with further speculation from Calgary and Darryl Sutter that Kovy had priced himself out of the range of 30 NHL teams amidst rumors that Kovy and agent Jay Grossman were seeking over $100 million dollars.
Days 2 and 3 - Just as the LA rumors were fading, the Islanders burst onto the scene with a reported ten year, $100 million offer. A couple of days later, it turns out it was much ado about nothing, oh surely the Islanders have interest but those figures now look like nothing more than PR noise. Not to mention the KHL's reported offer of four years and $36 million got floated around this time, presumably as leverage, as was supposed interest from the Flyers (who have far less cap space than even us) and Avalanche via a Russian newspaper.
Days 4 and 5 - As Derek posted yesterday everyone's favorite journalist Mark Everson reported in the post that an agreement with the Devils was imminent, with the reported contract figure at around seven years, $60 million. Not to mention internet message boards and twitter were buzzing with speculation that an agreement was imminent with similar numbers. Maybe some were piggybacking on the Post, or some got theirs from the same source.
Day 6 - In any case, we're now in day six and still Kovy hasn't put pen to a contract yet...with anyone. While some people have indicated that Lou Lamoriello has put Kovy on hold until he can get his salary cap ducks in order, I'm not sure I buy it.
First of all, the Devils don't technically have to get under the cap until the season starts. We can be as much as ten percent over. Currently, we're around $4 million or so under the cap. Reported figures had us anywhere from $3.4 to $3.9 under, but Lou himself claimed we have a little more than that in a phone interview with the Record's Tom Gulutti this morning.
Plus as quiet as Lou, Kovy and Grossman have been publicly it's still the worst kept secret that we want to re-sign Kovy and need to clear some cap space to do so. Other GM's know this whether we actually move the contracts beforehand or not. Maybe Lou gets a smidge more of leverage if he moves some players (Brian Rolston and Bryce Salvador among the leading candidates) beforehand but I doubt it. Of course I could be wrong too, god knows I know nothing more than anyone else.
Probably my real reason for posting this though is my general frustration with the rumor mill. At this point I give up, nobody knows what's going on, what Kovy and his agent or thinking or why this is taking so long despite the fact that Kovy's number of suitors is basically down to two at this point with one being the KHL. As fast as Twitter and internet message boards do break news and that's fine and dandy - the flip side is the sheer amount of mindless speculation that makes it into the rumor mill is mind-boggling.
It seems to me at this point that everyone's more or less doing calculated guesswork. People have been reduced to pointing out where the Kovy story from two days ago is on TSN's website, or the fact that Kovy's bio has been removed from the Devils' website (which is frequently slow and inaccurate). Even people who have had reliable sources in the past - including one Hockey's Future poster who broke the Kovalchuk trade days before it happened - have come up with incorrect or premature information.
With my luck this thing will finally break tonight when I'm out at the movies seeing Knight and Day, with trades surely to follow. Or maybe we'll be in a holding pattern for weeks. Who would have thought LeBron would have a team (maybe) before Kovalchuk?