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Why Ilya Kovalchuk and the Kings might be stuck with each other

18 novembre 2019
The story of Ilya Kovalchuk's spiral into NHL's proverbial dead zone continues to get stranger. The 36-year-old forward, who's averaged almost a point per game throughout out his NHL career is stalling hard in the second year of his three-year deal $18+ million deal with the LA Kings. Kovalchuk is in hockey limbo, being a healthy scratch for more than a week now, after starting the season with 9 points in 17 games and -10 rating for bottom-dwelling, badly-in-need-of-major-rebuild Kings team. Kovalchuk's fate is of major interest in his homeland, which is why Sport Express dispatched reporter Andrey Zhdanyuk to get the vibes from Jesse Cohen of the KingsMen podcast and Dennis Bernstein of TheFourthPeriod.

Cohen feels that with the exceptions of, perhaps, Sean Walker, Kyle Clifford, and Anze Kopitar who has 22 points in 20 games, there is plenty of blame to go around and Kovalchuk is one of the many to deserve his share. While he thinks that the Kovalchuk signing was a mistake from the beginning, he can still see Kovalchuk produce, either as a member of a team that has nothing to lose by playing him, or perhaps getting something for him in a trade, especially after December 15, when his signing bonus will be paid up and a team will only have to worry about taking on his cap hit.

Bernstein's opinion is that Kovalchuk has stagnated on an inferior team, and would still be productive somewhere where there is depth at center. If he is not played on Kopitar's wing, his talent is wasted and he looks bad in the process. Unfortunately, there is the matter of a full NMC (no movement clause) in his contract, and according to Bernstein, while Kovalchuk could return to Russia, he "likes living in Beverly Hills and driving to the games in a Rolls Royce."

Kovalchuk, at this point, can walk away from the game and still be a lock for the Hall of Fame, as well as being a hero back home for having won the Olympic gold medal in 2018. But the climate in Southern California agrees with him, and the dearth of playoff contenders in the vicinity makes a trade seem even less likely; the Sharks and Ducks are just barely above the hapless Kings in the standings. The puck is on his stick and eventually either he or the Kings will have to break the stalemate.

Source:Sport Express
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Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON