Kovalchuk Bedevils New Jersey and Me

By now the entire hockey world knows that Ilya Kovalchuk has retired from the NHL leaving behind $77 million dollars and the New Jersey Devils and their fans in a state of disbelief. The following is an attempt to piece this all together.
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In Defense of Ilya Kovalchuk

It seems that in the past few days there has been quite an uproar in the Devils fan community regarding their star winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Like many of his compatriots, Kovalchuk returned to the country where he learned to skate to continue playing the game he loves when the NHL hit it’s fourth work stoppage since 1992. Joining one of the Kontinental Hockey League’s top clubs, SKA St.Petersburg, he quickly became the team’s star and even took over as captain while scoring 42 points in 36 games.
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Islanders Set to Keep Nabby for Next Season

According to a New York’s Newsday, the New York Islanders are planning to retain the rights to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for the 2011-2012 season. Nabokov was picked off waivers by the team after signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings but since the collective bargaining agreement calls for players signing a NHL-level contract to enter waivers Nabokov ended up in Long Island. However the newest Islander never donned an Islanders jersey opting to hold out in hopes he would be freed from his contract this coming off-season.
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(Updated Again) Despite Signing with Wings, Nabokov Claimed by Islanders


(UPDATE Again) The Islanders have since suspended Nabokov for not reporting to the team. There have been reports of the goalie actually hanging up on GM Garth Snow having mistook him for a media outliet before having his agent return his call for him. Owner Charles Wang has also attempted to reach the netminder to no avail. So as this stalemate stands the Islanders can appeal to have Nabokov suspended through next season so stay tuned to the newest debacle on Long Island.
(UPDATE): Just a few hours after being claimed by the Islanders, word got around that Nabokov would not report to the Islanders. This could determine any future Nabby plans on having in the NHL if he doesn’t change his mind. New York is not obligated to do anything and this could just be a stalemate for both parties. It’s clear they intended for having him with the team but it appears Nabokov envisioned playing for a contender when he left the KHL last month.
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Evgeni Nabokov Leaves KHL’s SKA St.Petersburg, Where Will He Land?


(courtesy of ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK/REUTERS)

It appears Evgeni Nabokov’s stint back in the motherland is over as the four-year $24 million contract has been terminated by SKA St.Petersburg earlier today. Nabokov signed the contract with the intent of finishing up his career back in his adopted home country after being cut loose by the San Jose Sharks due to cap limitations. The 35-year-old netminder was the backbone to the only team he knew in the NHL and holds every major record for goalies in team history.
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Maxim Afinogenov joins SKA

While introducing new signings Evgeni Nabokov and Denis Grebeshkov, KHL and SKA St.Petersburg president Alexander Medvedev announced that long-time NHL winger Maxim Afinogenov planned to join his club for the upcoming season. Afinogenov agreed to join the club for the next five years after the Atlanta Thrashers wouldn’t meet his demands.
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SKA St.Petersburg Poach another, nab Grebeshkov

(Courtesy of John Russell/Getty Image)

For the second time in a decade Denis Grebeshkov has left the NHL for the motherland signing a two-year contract with the KHL’s SKA St.Petersburg. While the terms have not been released, it appears it is more than $3.15 million he made last year with the Nashville Predators. You may recall Grebeshkov first left the NHL and the New York Islanders in 2006-2007 opting to play for his hometown Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the now defunct Russian Super League.
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Where will Kovy Land? The FRWG Edition

ilya-kovalchuk-kings-stpetes

As we slowly approach week two of Kovy watch 2010 the most sought after free agent of this summer not named Lebron James has yet to pick a team. As much as VERSUS or the NHL network would probably love to air his decision live, I can’t see that happening. It would mean hockey being recognized as a legit sport in this country by those who can only pay attention once a week to their beloved team but I digress.
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Evgeni Nabokov says Da to SKA

nabby33(Courtesy of The Hockey News)

On Wednesday, former San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov signed a deal with the Kontinental Hockey League’s SKA St.Petersburg for a reported $24 million contract for the next four years. With the hockey world waiting and watching as the Ilya Kovalchuk saga continued to unfold, the league quietly lost one of it’s elite net-minders who opted to go to a team that would meet his demands financially even if it meant playing in the old country.
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NHL Set to Return to Russian Soil

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It has been 20 years since the NHL ventured to Mother Russia when the Minnesota North Stars and Montreal Canadiens took on the likes of the Soviet National team. Now prior to the official start of the 2010-2011 NHL season the league has arranged for both the Phoenix Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes to take on KHL clubs in Moscow and Riga, Latvia before the season kicks off in Finland and the Czech Republic.
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