Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just Let It End!

Kovy was on the ice this morning at practice. There was a pretty good crowd for a Thursday morning, too. I guess everyone wanted to come and see Atlanta's only superstar one last time.

For the longest it's been discussed ad nauseam, "is Kovy gonna re-sign?" I thought for the longest he would. He's been here his whole professional career. His 2 children were born here and his wife is very pregnant with their third. He also just built a beautiful new house. Waddell got him some talent this year to play with. I guess Max, Kubina and Antropov weren't enough.

It is crystal clear now, Kovy is leaving. In a surprising move, it's not the Atlanta Spirit or Don Waddell's fault this time. In a statement released today, Waddell released the info on exactly what Ilya had been offered:

"Our goal from the start of this negotiating process was to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract. During the process, Kovy affirmed his desire to be a Thrasher for life. We’ve spent several months exploring scenarios with Kovy and his agent to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and offered many lucrative packages in an attempt to meet his financial objectives. Unfortunately, we’ve reached an impasse and at this point he has declined all of our proposals and we can’t reasonably go any higher.

Ultimately, we offered Kovy more than $101 million over 12 years, which would have been the highest contract signed by an impending unrestricted free agent in the history of the league. If accepted, this contract would have been the second highest offer ever to any NHL player. We also met his desire to be the highest paid player based on average annual salary with a separate offer of 7 years at $10M per year ($70M). This offer is $0.5M higher per year than any other player.

If we went beyond these offers, we would not be able to retain the young players on our roster when it came time to sign them, or invest in other top tier players needed to assemble a truly competitive team. Therefore, we are aggressively exploring all of our options as we move forward."
After seeing those numbers, I'm glad we didn't sign him. No way we could afford the talent to go along with Ilya if we were paying him that. Not to mention, I'm not sure I agree with paying him record setting money.

Looks to me like maybe Ilya didn't want to stay after all. I'm thinking maybe he didn't want to stay, but didn't want to look like an ass. He asks for crazy "pie-in-the-sky" money expecting the Spirit not to cough it up. They did, he turned it down.

I will miss Ilya. He's been a part of the Thrashers since I've been a fan. He is truly the face of the franchise. Hopefully we can get a good return on him. Rumors are rampant. I've NEVER seen the Atlanta Thrashers discussed this much in the media. Hell there was an 11 Alive news crew at the rink this morning. I'm surprised the knew how to get there!

Good luck, Kovy! I hope you find happiness and success where ever you may end up. I will not boo when he returns, granted he doesn't shit talk us or anything. I'm so ready for this saga to be over.


Michelle February 4, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

I agree V. I hate to see him go, but to pay him these sums would be the final demise of the team, until attendance picks up and more money coming in, which won't be quickly, however, it sure has gotten us noticed!

I will not boo or hiss or anything of the sort either, I think that's as unsportsman like fan conduct as boarding, and I really don't think he'll trash talk the team either.

Bye Kovy, it's time for it to be over.

Beth Dolgner February 4, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

I'm so glad we went to practice this morning! I think our team will survive just fine without him - his play of late hasn't been good enough to make or break us. It is a little sad since he's been the face of the team for so long. But...someone (or maybe several someones) will step up to fill the void, I'm sure. I wish Ilya the best of luck, no matter whose sweater he wears.

Brittany February 4, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

I am going to miss him so much but you're right it would be the end of the team if we shelled out all of that money. I just wonder if antro and afinogenov will stay since he is in New Jersey


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