As such, it should either be back to the drawing board for both sides, or back to Russia for Kovalchuk. New Jersey really doesn’t need Kovalchuk, and fans don’t need this frustration. By elimination, that makes Kovalchuk Kontinental Hockey League bound. It may not be the best solution, but it is a solution nonetheless. Maybe he can even take the Devils with him and make this the KHL’s problem. Who knows? They might smarten up and realize that 17 years exiled in Siberia, cold as it may be, just might end up feeling a little too much like an eternity.
+ 1. I've always had mixed feelings about Kovy, and the longer this drags on, the more negative I feel. If he's this great, why aren't more teams interested? He's talented, but he wants a historic deal, and he's done nothing to show that he merits it. If he can't renegotiate to something reasonable, maybe we wasted a lot of time and some opportunities to bring in solid role players this offseason, but it's not a catastrophe.
I do disagree with the article blaming the Devils -- the NHL made a bad CBA and did nothing to fix it for years; this is their problem, not ours. We didn't set the NHL back 10 years, their idiocy created a bad situation which they characteristically handled terribly, and now they have to deal with the possibility of one of their bigger names leaving for Russia.
The more serious issue than the immediate future of the Devils is the long term future of the league. We may underestimate the KHL, but it's getting stronger, and unless the NHL can fix some serious problems without a work stoppage, they could become a serious threat. During the lockout, English speaking players discovered they could cope playing in Europe. European players are more and more likely to leave. Jagr was a superstar who chose to play in Russia because they offered to pay more. St. Petersburg is making a run at Kovy, who, unlike Jagr, is in his prime. While only a couple of teams have the resources to give Kovy what he wants, the same is true in most of the European soccer leagues, which have tremendous success. I'm not saying they're better, or that we should abolish the cap, but until we can come up with an effective CBA, we shouldn't be calling the KHL a joke. If they pay better, and we keep alienating fans with stupid decisions and work stoppages, hockey could go across the pond.