- Dmitry Chesnokov: SKA is denying they had a deal in place with Ilya Kovalchuk in January. Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport spoke with Kovalchuk’s mom, who was not surprised with what transpired.
“I knew about it, to be honest. Of course Ilya discussed this matter with me. It was back in January when my son was thinking about staying with SKA. But he went back to New Jersey to finish the season. Everything had to be done in a civilized manner; all legal questions must have been resolved.”
Is it true his salary was delayed by the Devils? [ed.: The question is unclear as it may be interpreted a number of ways]
“Yes, it happened. Now, after the lockout, there are a lot of restrictions at all teams. They are also underpaid 20% [of their salary]. The League takes it as an escrow that may not be paid back if the NHL does not make profit. And then there’s government tax of 50%. That means on paper you are being paid $10 million a year, but in reality only 3. So the pendulum swung for Russia.”
- Craig Custance of ESPN: Kovalchuk fallout could be an isolated case.
For now, this appears to be an isolated case. At least that has to be the hope, especially for teams built around a standout Russian player.
When I asked one general manager Thursday evening if teams should be concerned, he admitted uncertainty.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I would suspect this is a unique situation.”
Another GM said the bigger impact will be in the draft, where he’d be less likely to use a top pick on a Russian player after Kovalchuk’s decision to leave for the KHL. And if teams aren’t using top picks on the best Russian players, there’s even less motivation for them to come to the NHL. The NHL might not be losing its biggest stars now, but the eventual problem might be that the stars never go to North America in the first place.
- Alexander Zaytsev: Sergei Gonchar and Pavel Datsyuk were close to leaving the NHL for the KHL is summer according the GM of Metallurg.
- Igor Eronko: The KHL would like to raise their salary cap to $40 million, which must be approved by most of the teams.