Lots of talk but nothing to announce yet on Kovalchuk
Thursday will mark the two-week point since the start of free agency and 10 days since Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, last made a public comment. Grossman said July 5 that the high-scoring left wing's choices had "been narrowed down," with "details to be finalized," but that proved way premature.
Kovalchuk's visit to Los Angeles for face-to-face meetings with the Kings went well by all accounts. He arrived Sunday night and left Tuesday afternoon; Grossman stayed for more talks with Kings executives and took a red-eye flight back East.
Tom Gullitti of the Bergen Record in New Jersey said via Twitter on Wednesday that the Devils are still interested in Kovalchuk, but he echoed my thoughts in doubting that the Devils have made a 17-year, $100-million offer, as has been rumored.
And so for now we all wait until Kovalchuk makes up his mind. Once he does, it's likely a flurry of trades will result: If the Kings don't get Kovalchuk they'll still have to find a scoring winger and they still want a defenseman after missing out on the top free-agent defensemen. If the Devils get Kovalchuk they'll have to move some players to carve out salary cap space. The Flyers and Canucks are over the salary cap limit--teams can be 10% over during the summer--and several other teams are close to the cap.
A few other notes: Pierre LeBrun at espn.com wrote that the Flyers have given Simon Gagne's agent permission to talk to other teams. He is a possibility for the Kings, but he's expensive for one year--$5.25 million--and has a worrisome history of concussions.
Also, the executive committee of the NHL Players' Assn. ended two days of meetings in Toronto without choosing a new leader. Don Fehr, former head of the Major League Baseball Players' Assn.,remains a favored candidate but he will be 62 soon and reportedly doesn't want the job on a long-term basis. But he might agree to lead the union through negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement. The current labor deal expires in 2012.
Photo credit: Gregory Smith / Associated Press