On our country's birthday, some surprising fireworks were delivered by Ilya Kovalchuk. The big Russian sniper said, "Nyet," to the Kings turning them down.
Credit LA Times' Helene Elliott who tweeted the update 20 minutes prior. In it, LA GM Dean Lombardi notes:
"We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team's."
So, all indications are that Kovalchuk won't land in Hollywood, leaving little options. A very encouraging development for the Devils, who now look like the frontrunners to keep the biggest free agent who they sacrificed prospects and picks for at last deadline. Unless you believe the rumored Islander offer (10 yrs, $100 million) is legit and enough to sway a player who supposedly wants to win a Cup, it looks he's New Jersey's to lose.
Unless some other team comes out of the woodworks, it would seem logical for the man who honors Russian hero Valeri Kharlamov by donning his No.17 to return to Newark for unfinished business. Having upgraded their D with solid additions Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder along with the reacquisition of '00 Cup hero Jason Arnott filling the void at center, it's a perfect opportunity for Kovalchuk to show what he's all about.
Hopefully, we'll finally have a final answer to this drama sometime tomorrow.