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Hradek: Lombardi's intense questioning turned off Kovalchuk

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Old
09-08-2010, 10:41 AM
  #126
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Originally Posted by go kim johnsson 514 View Post
I'm well-aware. I was there. I was surprised as anyone else that the Devils laid an egg against a Flyers team ripe for the picking. My point is though is that Lombardi is looking for people who have some sort of winning track record. It's the only reason he traded for Justin Williams. It's why he was willing to give big dollars to Rob Scuderi. And it's no accident that Ryan Smyth was a target last summer. Kovalchuk does not fit that bill - regardless of the reasons why. He keeps finding himself on teams that underachieve, so why shouldn't there be intense questioning? This kind of contract your career is married to it. And one reason is that Lombardi wanted Kovalchuk to agree to a contract where he wasn't going to have to turn around and pawn off other players to get under the cap and cost them their job, which he would have done with the Devils if he was a real team player.

But yet Lombardi went after Kovy hard, harder than any other GM including Lou. Seriously man, you can't say he didn't fit what Lombardi wanted in a player when he offered that said player a lifetime contract.

And you are also waaaaay off on knocking Kovy's playoff performance, he was only one of a very few that gave the effort and a good one too.

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09-08-2010, 10:48 AM
  #127
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Originally Posted by Ronnie Bass View Post
But yet Lombardi went after Kovy hard, harder than any other GM including Lou. Seriously man, you can't say it didn't fit what Lombardi wanted in a player when he offered that said player a lifetime contract.

And you are also waaaaay off on knocking Kovy's playoff play, he was only one of a very few that gave the effort and a good one too.
I think he may be referring to the sense amongst a few Kings followers that when you say the Kings wanted Kovalchuk, it does not necessarily mean that Lombardi wanted him... just as Lamoriello did not appear to be particularly enthused by making the Devils' offer.

There's a strong sense amongst many Kings fans that the parent company AEG likes to get involved at times at a level slightly above Lombardi's pay grade.

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09-08-2010, 11:02 AM
  #128
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Originally Posted by Michigan Wolverine View Post
I think he may be referring to the sense amongst a few Kings followers that when you say the Kings wanted Kovalchuk, it does not necessarily mean that Lombardi wanted him... just as Lamoriello did not appear to be particularly enthused by making the Devils' offer.

There's a strong sense amongst many Kings fans that the parent company AEG likes to get involved at times at a level slightly above Lombardi's pay grade.
Ahhhh, fair enough, if that is the case I can see that then.

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09-08-2010, 11:06 AM
  #129
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Originally Posted by Yog S'loth View Post
Kovalchuk was "turned off" by the missing $20m he couldn't seem to find in the Kings offer. Do you really think a couple of questions from a GM had any factor whatsoever in his decision? Really?
I think that that may've hit on the root of the situation. By all accounts, Kovalchuk really wanted $100M and the Kings were not offering it, so it's quite plausible that Ilya's whole reason for interviewing with them was to try to talk $100M out of Lombardi and, when he couldn't, he was "turned off." Also, it's possible that Dean was ok with him at a $5.333M cap hit with no questions asked (indeed, I think that he offered that before even meeting him), but Ilya making it clear in the interview that he wanted $100M (which necessitated quite a bit higher cap hit) prompted Lombardi to step up his questioning to justify spending a million more than he wanted to. So, Kovalchuk might've walked out of the interview "turned off" by the refusal to match Lou's offer and by the questions that Lombardi had to ask to justify matching it. I agree that, in the end, the money was likely the bigger factor, but it doesn't mean that the questioning didn't rub him the wrong way, as well, and make his decision even easier.

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09-08-2010, 11:51 AM
  #130
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Kovalchuk wanted to be on a winning team for as much money as he could get. Kovalchuk ended up signing with a winning team for as much money as he could get.

If the Devils and Kings offers were reversed, he wouldn't be a Devil. It's a pretty simple situation.

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09-08-2010, 12:02 PM
  #131
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Originally Posted by Michigan Wolverine View Post
I think he may be referring to the sense amongst a few Kings followers that when you say the Kings wanted Kovalchuk, it does not necessarily mean that Lombardi wanted him... just as Lamoriello did not appear to be particularly enthused by making the Devils' offer.

There's a strong sense amongst many Kings fans that the parent company AEG likes to get involved at times at a level slightly above Lombardi's pay grade.
Pretty sure that is exactly what happened and why Tim Leiweke should stay the hell away from any player personnel decisions.

Bringing Blake back for the 2nd time had Leiweke's fingerprints all over it.

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09-08-2010, 12:05 PM
  #132
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Originally Posted by Norvu View Post
Kovalchuk wanted to be on a winning team for as much money as he could get. Kovalchuk ended up signing with a winning team for as much money as he could get.

If the Devils and Kings offers were reversed, he wouldn't be a Devil. It's a pretty simple situation.
Let's see how he performs now that he has $100 mil in the bank tho. He wasn't exactly a playoff performer in the spring, tho it was only his first crack with a real playoff team.

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09-08-2010, 12:13 PM
  #133
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So Kovalchuk was so turned off by Lombardi's questions, that Grossman stayed in LA an extra couple of days after Kovalchuk left, to negotiate with Lombardi? LOL. Come on Kovalchuk, you think people are that stupid? It was the $20 mill. End of story.

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09-08-2010, 12:33 PM
  #134
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I still can't believe this is an issue.

If the Kings offer was anywhere remotely close to the Devils offer and Kovalchuk chose NJ over LA because of Lombardi, then it's a BIG issue, or at least a lot bigger of one. It's still speculation what Lombardi might have done that allegedly rubbed Kovalchuk the wrong way.

I can't fault Lombardi for being cautious when offering that long of a contract. He hadn't played for the Kings, he would have made their cap situation a lot tighter, and it would have been a completely un-moveable contract (between NMCs and the money involved). I agree with my fellow Kings fans that think Lombardi's interest was somewhat forced by upper management. The Kings could use a player of Kovalchuk's talent, but when you're committing that much money and that long of term, you better be 100% sure it's the right guy. People are calling Lombardi conservative, but I don't think he'd have a problem offering Doughty the type of money Kovalchuk ended up with. Of course Lombardi's seen Doughty for 2 years now, knows his personality, how he contributes to the locker room, how he is as a teammate. Lombardi was tough on Doughty before LA drafted him, challenging him to lose weight and show that he was committed. Doughty took on that challenge and that really impressed Lombardi.

I think way too many people have the fantasy sports mentality about building teams. Throw the best guys available out there and voila, you have success. In reality, you have to be concerned about character issues, whether or not the player will be a good teammate, and so forth (not implying Ilya isn't those things, but those are things Lombardi worries a lot about.) Lombardi worries a lot about why players want to sign in LA. Are they signing here because they want to contribute to a winning hockey club or because they want to enjoy the weather and the So Cal lifestyle.

I don't necessarily think those are bad traits in a GM but at the same time I can see how it might not have been what Kovalchuk was expecting. I'm sure Ilya heard all the rumors about how LA was so interested. Who knows, maybe they expected the Kings to be willing to just capitulate to everything his agent was asking for. I'm sure the fact that the Kings offer was so much lower than the Devils was shocking, I can't think Ilya would be all that surprised Lombardi would ask tough questions of him. If he was offended by that then it's probably just as well that things didn't work out. Like others said, if you sign that big of a contract, for better or worse, you're going to get blamed if things don't go well and you're going to have to deal with the tough questions.

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09-08-2010, 01:09 PM
  #135
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Originally Posted by go kim johnsson 514 View Post
And one reason is that Lombardi wanted Kovalchuk to agree to a contract where he wasn't going to have to turn around and pawn off other players to get under the cap and cost them their job, which he would have done with the Devils if he was a real team player.
A player who scores 40+ goals with regularity and is considered by most objective observers to be in the running for the best pure sniper in the game signs a contract with a cap hit of 6.66 and he's not a team player? That is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on these boards in quite a while. How many inferior players in this league have a higher cap hit? Quite a few.

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09-08-2010, 01:11 PM
  #136
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not to mention i dont think ive ever heard anything ever about Kovy being a bad teammate. i know the devils players love him

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09-08-2010, 01:14 PM
  #137
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Originally Posted by Colin Whites Eye View Post
not to mention i dont think ive ever heard anything ever about Kovy being a bad teammate. i know the devils players love him
Yes, but how would Lombardi know that? With the amount of money the Kings were offering, they have every right to ask whatever question they feel they need to ask.

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09-08-2010, 01:21 PM
  #138
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Originally Posted by ScoreZeGoals View Post
God forbid someone question that player about any potential concerns that you might have about his game. I guess stats are all that matters anymore
Exactly what kind of questions do you think he was being asked? "Are you going to play defense?...Are you committed to trying to win a Stanley Cup, or are you only in it for the money?" Consider this a job interview. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry would say exactly what the person on the other side of the table wanted to hear....if those were the questions being asked.

The bottom line is that Kovalchuk is a 27 year old veteran player. He's in his prime. HE IS WHAT HE IS. If the Kings don't trust their professional scouts enough that they need the player to tell them what he does or doesn't bring to the table then it really wouldn't matter what he told them.

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09-08-2010, 01:22 PM
  #139
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Originally Posted by glovesave_35 View Post
A player who scores 40+ goals with regularity and is considered by most objective observers to be in the running for the best pure sniper in the game signs a contract with a cap hit of 6.66 and he's not a team player? That is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on these boards in quite a while. How many inferior players in this league have a higher cap hit? Quite a few.
Oh come on, that cap hit is Lou's doing. Kovy still got his front loaded 10 year contract and it's painfully obvious that Kovy was not coming down much in his demands. He may be a team player, but his contract has nothing to do with it

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09-08-2010, 01:23 PM
  #140
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Originally Posted by glovesave_35 View Post
A player who scores 40+ goals with regularity and is considered by most objective observers to be in the running for the best pure sniper in the game signs a contract with a cap hit of 6.66 and he's not a team player? That is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on these boards in quite a while. How many inferior players in this league have a higher cap hit? Quite a few.
How many players in the league will make $100 million over the next 10 years?

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09-08-2010, 05:01 PM
  #141
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How many players in the league will make $100 million over the next 10 years?
What does that have to do with anything?

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Originally Posted by ScoreZeGoals View Post
Oh come on, that cap hit is Lou's doing. Kovy still got his front loaded 10 year contract and it's painfully obvious that Kovy was not coming down much in his demands. He may be a team player, but his contract has nothing to do with it
It also doesn't hurt the team so I don't see what the problem is. They worked out a second deal that satisfied the NHL's definition of the CBA. If the actual salary paid will hurt the franchise's ability to put together a winner that's on the general manager, not the free agent. As it stands, he currently has a monster salary while not hurting his team's ability to put together a competitive roster by working the cap hit to a manageable size.

Sour grapes.

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09-08-2010, 05:10 PM
  #142
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I don't think either GM really wanted Kovalchuk, it was more a case of ownership looking for a splash. Given Lou's comments I kind of think the NJ ownership put the contract together.

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09-08-2010, 05:14 PM
  #143
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Originally Posted by Mr Bojanglez View Post
What has Ryan Smyth won, NHL-wise? Cause Kovy has a bunch international championships too. And let us glaze over that winning signing of Alexei Ponikarovsky. And of course, the great winning tradition of Michal Handzus.

See how its easy to spin an argument in your favor?

And Keeps finding himself on underachieving teams? He's been on 2 teams! What kind of perpetual theme can be generated from 2 instances? IF the Devils make it to the playoffs this year, and get knocked out the first round... you'll have a point. As it stands now, its a little premature to act as if he's a loser. Hossa used to be a "bad" playoff perfomer, Ovechkin hasn't won anything of note. Yzerman was in the league for more than a decade before he won.
No, you're spinning the argument so that it looks like it's actually in your favor, when it isn't.

Ryan Smyth won a Gold medal in the Olympics and was one game from the Stanley Cup. The World Championships are minor league unless you're from Europe where it actually means something. That doesn't mean it's not important to the players, but that's just how it is.

The difference with Hossa was that at least he was getting places. At least the guy was winning in the regular season. Hossa got a lot more crap than he really deserved, he hasn't had all great playoffs, but since 2002 he's only had one playoff year where he just didn't show up. You're running that point off of the fact HF complains about "any front-line player who doesn't wear out the red light is a choker."

Handzus he gave a long-term commitment because of the player he is. He also didn't sign Handzus to a 15-year contract. Ponikarovsky is one and done, and I'm not really convinced but in the end he couldn't sit there and do nothing.

Regardless, guys like Smyth and Handzus have a profound and unquestioned respect around the league, which I'm not convinced Kovalchuk has.

The point is that Lombardi has been trying to surround his team with veterans who don't have a me-first attitude. He knows people gotta get paid, but he also wants people who want to be there (Kovalchuk apparently didn't want to be there as bad as all the talking heads claimed). It is a valid thought process (not necessarily mine) that a player who wants a lifetime-term contract knowing that he's going to cost one or two players their place on the team can certainly be seen as someone who is in it for himself and not his team.

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Originally Posted by Ronnie Bass View Post
But yet Lombardi went after Kovy hard, harder than any other GM including Lou. Seriously man, you can't say he didn't fit what Lombardi wanted in a player when he offered that said player a lifetime contract.

And you are also waaaaay off on knocking Kovy's playoff performance, he was only one of a very few that gave the effort and a good one too.
I never said Kovalchuk didn't show up. I know - I was there - still defending him. You can look it up if you want. I said he isn't winning. Big difference.

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Originally Posted by glovesave_35 View Post
A player who scores 40+ goals with regularity and is considered by most objective observers to be in the running for the best pure sniper in the game signs a contract with a cap hit of 6.66 and he's not a team player? That is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on these boards in quite a while. How many inferior players in this league have a higher cap hit? Quite a few.
Pavel Bure was once considered to be in the running for the best pure sniper in the game (in fact, he wasn't in the running because there was no running - no one debated it). How many times is his name on the Cup? When the Canucks went to the Finals he was already planning his exit strategy and no one was happy with the result. That doesn't mean they're the same player, but just because you score a ton of goals in the regular season doesn't mean as much as the goals they score in the post-season. It's usually fewer, usually harder, and usually more frustrating.

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09-08-2010, 05:17 PM
  #144
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How did Kovalchuk become public enemy #1?
He soiled the Kaberle trade market.

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09-08-2010, 05:20 PM
  #145
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Swap Kovalchuk with anyone - Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, whoever - on that Devils team or that one Atlanta playoff team and tell me how different the outcome would be.

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09-08-2010, 05:21 PM
  #146
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I'm not sure you can reasonably say anything about Kovy's playoff acumen in relation to the series against the Flyers.

Simple fact is that the Devils drew the toughest opponent they had all season; the Flyers were just a horrible match-up for them. And Lemaire made a number of bone-headed moves from defensive pairings that hadn't played together all year to a horrible offensive set-up scheme during the PP.

Kovy was trying as were a couple of others, but from the beginning, it was a joke. Not much to read into last year but yet another collective coaching and team failure from the Devils.

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09-08-2010, 05:24 PM
  #147
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It reminds me of the time Gretzky wanted to sign in Vancouver (to center Bure).

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09-08-2010, 05:30 PM
  #148
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What does that have to do with anything?



It also doesn't hurt the team so I don't see what the problem is. They worked out a second deal that satisfied the NHL's definition of the CBA. If the actual salary paid will hurt the franchise's ability to put together a winner that's on the general manager, not the free agent. As it stands, he currently has a monster salary while not hurting his team's ability to put together a competitive roster by working the cap hit to a manageable size.

Sour grapes.
WOW!! Your really all over the place here. I never said the Devils would have trouble putting together a competitive roster. Your busy praising Kovy when this all comes back to Lou. Kovy got his money. The most anybody was offering. The fact that Lou and the Devils got the cap hit down has little to do with Kovy. Where else was he going to go? Russia? Please. I implied that Kovy signing the richest contract available (even with a lowish cap hit) does not equal him being a "good team player", even though he might be.

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09-08-2010, 05:54 PM
  #149
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Someone please tell me what the **** Lombardi has ever won in his life
The Michael Cammalleri arbitration?























ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!

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09-08-2010, 06:36 PM
  #150
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Here's a question:

(ASSUMING) That Lombardi's questioning was the reason Kovy didn't sign in LA, and the largest contract the Kings' offered was 13yrs, 80 mill, AND Lou said all the right things, then why wouldn't Kovy sign for 80 mill in NJ, before, and ESPECIALLY after the arbitration?

If you assume this (as Hradek sort of does and many in this thread do), then there are only two possible answers:

1. Kovy/Grossman new they could squeeze the 100 mill, so they did.
2. Or, NJ was $20 mill less attractive to Kovy than LA.

Now, its probably a combination of the two, the money, and that Lombardi turned him off. Its a shame, its also not that the end of the world.

Everyone involved in this Kovy situation ****ed up something to some degree. The whole thing was a mess, from LA to Kovy to Grossman to Jersey to the NHL to the NHLPA. All of them, morons. Just different levels of moron.

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