by: Ryan McKenna
A lot of people may not have thought of Ilya Kovalchuk’s present situation to be anything like the Mats Sundin situation from a couple years ago, but I’m not like most people. The one word that links Kovalchuk and Sundin together? Saga.
The Ilya Kovalchuk saga has been ongoing now every since July 1st, the first day of the Unrestricted Free Agency, and hasn’t stopped since. First it was that Kovalchuk would be going to the Kings, and then it was the Devils. All these with the possibility in the back of everyone’s head that, “Hey! Maybe he might not sign with an NHL team and go to the KHL!”. Finally, on Monday, stories were breaking out that Kovalchuk would sign with the Devils. Then it was Lou Lamoriello, the Devils GM that confirmed to TSN that indeed Kovalchuk would sign with the club. When I first heard of the length of the contract, it was via text from my brother Pat. I could not believe it! 17 years for a player that is already 28 years old? Too good to be true.
At yesterday’s press conference held by the Devils to introduce Kovalchuk’s new deal, the terms of the deal were finally released. 17 years, $102 million US. Yikes! I wish I had that kind of money. Late last night the National Hockey League did what many hockey fans expected, and rejected the contract presented to them by the New Jersey Devils organization. Now to put this sitaution into reality for the time being, I believe that this quote is the best way to explain what can or can’t happen. This is via Twitter and TSN’s Darren Dregger “If NJ doesn’t refile and the NHLPA doesn’t grieve, Kovy will be a UFA. If the PA grieves, his future is up in the air pending resolution.”
Now, how do Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract and Mats Sundin have anything in common? Well, let’s look at this:
- Each are European players. (Kovalchuk is Russian, Sundin is Sweedish).
- Both were or are highly touted free agents.
- Both wanted a good sum of money.
- Both kept a new story everyday for reporters around the world to talk about. Just a couple years ago you would see Mats Sundin’s face on TSN’s SportsCenter every day until the day he signed, as there was always a story as to whether he would retire, or would he play another year?, etc.
In Kovalchuk’s case, hockey fans and reporters will wait in agony as the saga will take many more twists and turns on whether the NHLPA will file grievance or whether Kovalchuk will or will not accept the new contract presented to him by the Devils organization, etc. Until then however, there are two things that we can do. 1- Listen to Keshia’s “Tik-Tok” as it is the best representation for this wonderful news. Either that or the Jeopardy music. In other words, we wait. And 2- Enjoy my wonderful collage of Sundin and Kovalchuk!