I managed to catch some air and I gotta admit, the arguments about the Devils benefitting from it, maybe even encouraging the situation, are starting to hit home. Here is a quick analysis from The Hockey News, a good read:
Don't really know why I had missed it, but until yesterday I wasn't aware that the Devils would get a salary cap penalty for Kovalchuk retiring a few seasons before the end of the contract. And I had no idea it could get THIS ugly:
Had Kovalchuk decided to retire after Year 9 of his 15-year deal, he would have earned $86 of his $100 million, but the NHL’s punitive cap-recapture scheme would have hit the Devils with a cap hit of $4.3 million for each of the last five years of that contract, as opposed to a hit of just over $250,000 now until 2024-25.
We know Lou doesn't shy away from finding loopholes to get players in and out, especially when there's a bad contract to unload. I never viewed Kovalchuk's deal as a bad one, I actually thought it was pretty sweet because of the extra years, but now I see with the new CBA it became really, really problematic.
So, the thing I'm wondering right now is how Lou played this out. What was his initial reaction (I mean, in his mind) to Kovy telling him he's considering going back to Russia? Was it "sh!t, we're going to lose our franchise player" or was he like "well, we can get out of a bad situation thanks to this, so the sooner he bolts out of here, the better for our cap and finances"? On one hand, we all love to view Lou as this evil lord pulling strings from behind the courtain and keeping his hands clean, but on the other: he sacrificed quite a lot to get this fella here, so it's tough to imagine he could be happy about this.
Not sure how to feel about it today. Yesterday I was furious at Kovalchuk and depressed by the big loss, blaming only him. Right now I'm still devastated because we got weaker, but at the same time, can't stop thinking about Lou letting him go. Clearly he knew it was in the club's interest in the long run - they agreed it was best for both sides. But I loved Kovy and if Lou outright worked with him to get him out of here, then I'm disappointed in him as well. I know I probably sound like a spoiled kid saying this, but even if it's the lesser evil, I'm still more pissed about losing my favourite forward overnight than pleased with LL working his magic to help us years from now. I just had so high hopes for #17 I'm depressed this is how it ends.
Edited by Revan, 12 July 2013 - 05:37 AM.