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Shawn Thornton: ‘If I kept pace with [Ilya Kovalchuk] something is wrong with this game’ 03.22.11 at 11:38 pm ET
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Shawn Thornton broke a 19-game goal-less streak in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Devils, but like many others in the Bruins’ dressing room, was focused on the team getting a much-needed victory following the game. One topic that was visited in his post-game chat was the fact that he countered Ilya Kovalchuk‘s first-period tally with one of his own.

Thornton and Kovalchuk have a bit of a comical connection in that as late as December, Thornton had more goals than the $100 million man. The two have not kept pace, of course, as Kovalchuk now has 27 to Thornton’s nine. Thornton said after the game that he was just happy that his goal, a Dennis Seidenberg shot that deflected off him, went in.

“I didn’€™t even know I scored. It went off my pants and in. I thought I blocked it,” Thornton said. I was going to curse myself for getting in front of it, but it found a way.”

“If I kept pace with him, there is something wrong with this game,” he added with a laugh. “I will take it anytime our line can chip in with one I’€™m happy.”

Read More: ilya kovalchuk, Shawn Thornton,
Shawn Thornton ends goal-scoring drought, Bruins tied with Devils after 1 at 7:43 pm ET
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Who said the Ilya Kovalchuk/Shawn Thornton scoring race was over?

The once ironically compared players both came up big for their teams in the first period, and after 20 minutes, the Bruins and Devils are tied at one goal apiece.

The Devils opened the game’s scoring on the power play, as Mattias Tedenby hit a wide open Kovalchuk from behind the net and the high-priced winger beat Thomas for his

The Bruins were outshot 16-6 in the period, but they made their third one count. A Dennis Seidenberg wrister from the point was tipped past Martin Brodeur by Shawn Thornton to get the B’s on the board 15:39. It ended the longest goal-scoring drought of the season, one that began after his Feb. 3 tally and lasted 19 games.

Read More: ilya kovalchuk, Shawn Thornton,
Savard deal no longer an issue 09.03.10 at 7:10 pm ET
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According to TSN, the NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed to a change in rules regarding players’ contracts. As part of the agreement, longterm deals that were under investigation by the league (including Marc Savard’s deal) will be grandfathered. The rules, which will be explained below, will apply to all contracts filed after Friday.

The report includes two stipulations. Though the gist of it is well-understood here, rewording it may only confuse some. Here’s an excerpt from Darren Dreger:

“First: For long-term contracts extending beyond the age of 40, the contract’s average annual value for the years up to and including 40, are calculated by dividing total value in those years by the number of years up to and including 40. Then for the years covering ages 41 and beyond, the cap charge in each year is equal to the value of the contract in that year.

For example, say a 35-year old player agrees to a 7-year deal that is set to expire when the player is 42 years old. The deal is set up as follows: $7.6 million for the first four years followed by $4 million in the fourth year, then two final seasons at $525,000. Under the terms of the new amendment you would add up the first five years of the contract (to the age of 40) and calculate the average: $34.4 million divided by five years equals $6.88 million. That number would now be the player’s cap hit over those first five years. His cap hit in the final two years of his deal would be the actual value of the contract in those seasons, therefore a cap hit of $525,000 for years six and seven of the deal.

Secondly, for long-term contracts that include years in which the player is 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40; the amount used for purposes of calculating his average annual value is a minimum of $1 million in each of those years (even if his actual compensation is less during those seasons).

As an example, a player signs the exact same seven-year deal discussed above, however the deal is signed at the age of 32 and is set to expire when the player reaches 39 years old. For that contract, the two seasons at $525,000 would remain, however they would be treated as years at $1 million for the purpose of calculating the appropriate cap charge.”

The second stipulation would have applied to Savard, whose deal runs until he is 39.

Read More: ilya kovalchuk, Marc Savard,
Reported NHL/NHLPA agreement could end Marc Savard saga at 2:46 pm ET
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According to a tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger, an agreement has been reached between the NHL and the NHLPA on a revision to the calculation of salary cap hits. As part of the settlement that has been agreed upon, the latest Ilya Kovalchuk contract proposal will be approved and, if previous reports prove consistent, so-called “retirement contracts” being investigated will be grandfathered.

Dreger tweets that the two sides are working to file the necessary paperwork on the revision by 5 p.m. Friday, the NHL’s deadline for the players’ association to accept their terms.

Previously, a player’s cap hit was calculated simply by dividing the contracts total money by the years of the deal. Teams found a loophole and capitalized on it by paying players big money up front and tacking on additional years for very little money. This meant a player would still get the high salaries they demanded while the team would have a managable cap hit.

Marc Savard‘s contact was viewed as such by the league, as the seven-year, $28.5 million pact paid far more up front than it did over the rest of its life (more than half the money is being paid out in the first two seasons, but his cap hit will be just $4.007 million).

The new rules will make it so that a player’s cap hit is calculated the same way as before, but with only years until the player’s 40th birthday counted. This prevents teams from dramatically lowering a highly paid player’s cap hit. For what it’s worth, Savard’s deal, which has been under investigation since December, would expire less than a month before his 40th birthday and would not be deemed illegal even by the new rules.

Read More: ilya kovalchuk, Marc Savard,
Agent: Lawsuit coming if Savard’s deal with Bruins is nixed 09.02.10 at 1:01 pm ET
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Larry Kelly, the agent for Marc Savard, made the most notable noise from the Savard camp Thursday since news broke this month that the center’s contract with the Bruins was being investigated.

Savard signed a seven-year, $28.5 million extension with the Bruins in December, but its front-loaded nature has led to its investigation. The NHL is willing to grandfather such deals if the NHLPA agrees to a new way of calculating salary cap hits, but if the players association declines the terms, Savard’s deal could be voided.

That’s where Kelly comes in. Appearing on Team 1200 radio in Ottawa Thursday, the agent said that legal action would be taken against the NHL if such a scenario to play out. If the deal were to be voided, Savard would become a free agent to sign with any club. The problem is that the prime free agency has passed, and many teams have already made their plans for the coming season, thus not having the cap space to sign a top player. Thirteen teams have less than $4.007 (Savard’s anticipated cap hit this season) freed, so such a signing would be made difficult at this time.

“I haven’t heard anything from the league, but I feel the contract is fine. It was not rejected on its face. It was registered. I’m not expecting any major problem. If the league were to arbitrarily do something, it would be a very, very serious issue. Marc Savard had a very serious concussion last year. He came back in the playoffs to try and help his team. He was not anywhere near the player he had been. If Marc is without a contract and is a so-called free agent after missing the free agency period, you can imagine the lawsuit that would ensue,” Kelly said.

Kelly also expressed a desire for commissioner Gary Bettman to take the side of players more often.

‘€œI’€™d really like to see a true commissioner-style , someone who has the best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have now. Bettman is [more like] the president of the league and he clearly is on the owners side on every issue. I really think it should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious situation,’€ Kelly said.

[Props to sportsnet.ca]

Read More: Gary Bettman, ilya kovalchuk, Marc Savard,
Kovalchuk the best thing that never happened for Bruins 07.19.10 at 5:52 pm ET
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Seventeen years is a long time, but not too long for the Devils and all-galaxy winger Ilya Kovalchuk, apparently. According to reports, Kovalchuk will get in excess of $100 million dollars in a deal that will run longer than both World Wars and the American Civil War combined. The front office in New Jersey must have had a whale of a time trying to project how things will be in 15, 16, and 17 years. Today’s babies will be driving. Today’s children will be parents. Today’s parents will perhaps be grandparents.

And Kovalchuk’s contract will still be on the books.

So, as Devils fans celebrate the retaining of their top offensive threat and take to partying like it’s 2027, it’s quite amusing to think back to a time when fans wanted the Bruins to make a deal last season to acquire the then-Thrasher at any cost. The asking price for Kovalchuk during the season included the first-round pick the Bruins had acquired from the Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel deal. Blake Wheeler‘s name also popped up in rumors regarding the two teams, though it’s difficult to project which players would have made their way to Atlanta in a deal. During the season it was quite apparent the pick would be at least a top-five-to-top-three pick, and thus the Bruins pulled out of the running due to an unwillingness to move the pick.

Five months and an outrageously lengthy deal later, it appears the Bruins made the right move by making no move at all with the Thrashers. They kept the pick, which ended up being the second overall selection, and got what many believe is a star in center Tyler Seguin. Once signed, Seguin will receive a salary of $900,000 in addition to performance bonuses, which means his cap hit during the life of his entry level deal could max out at around $3.75 million.

Seguin’s contract, should he become the player many expect him to be, will be good money for a potentially elite player. However, given the current cap disaster the Bruins are dealing with, many are wondering how they will even be able to stay under $59.4 million while paying the rookie (who, at age 18, has been alive just one more year than Kovalchuk’s deal will run) the bargain rate of $900,000.

The team has between $500,000 and $600,000 in cap space and, in addition to having to sign Seguin, are just over a week from winger Wheeler’s arbitration date. That situation could be rather costly, as Wheeler earned $2.8 million last season and a source told WEEI.com Monday that the two sides have made “no progress” on a deal to avoid arbitration.

Had the Bruins made a deal involving the Toronto pick for Kovalchuk during the season, not only would they be without the long-term benefits of Seguin, but they would have almost surely lost the winger on the open market. Trying to work out a deal to keep him in the fold would be a stray from what the current front office is used to, as history has shown that general manager Peter Chiarelli’s idea of a lengthy contract is the seven-year, $28.05 million extension the team gave to center Marc Savard in November.

Keeping in mind the team has long-term plans outside of Seguin and Wheeler, getting and keeping Kovalchuk — even if he did receive as long a deal as he got from the Devils and carried a $6 million cap hit — would have made a lot of the Bruins’ other plans a lot tougher. Who knows if they would have been able to give defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk raises before free agency hit or whether they would have waited it out in hopes of making sure they could retain Kovalchuk. Forget about devoting any time to potential extensions for Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. Maybe Tim Thomas would have been forced to be expendable in a soft deal, thus making the goaltending situation far less stable. There are dozens of other combinations of undesirable cost-cutting maneuvers the Bruins would have been forced into just to make sure they had a chance at keeping the winger.

The Bruins should be applauded for having one of the better offenses for any team in the league. They gave themselves a chance to do big things by getting the pick from Toronto, and in keeping it, they may have avoided financial strife and roster catastrophe.

Read More: Boston Bruins, ilya kovalchuk, Tyler Seguin,
Slow free agency to blame for slowed trade market at 3:41 am ET
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The Bruins had plans to be active in the trade market throughout the offseason, and as anyone who’s seen their current cap situation could infer, they would have been in far better shape had they been able to move contracts out as they brought new ones in. Yet in all their moves thus far, they’ve crept closer and closer to that $59.4 million cap ceiling with moves still left to be made.

Dennis Wideman and Nathan Horton‘s annual cap hits were essentially a wash, with Horton ($4 million) making slightly more, but the $1.1 million Gregory Campbell will earn in each of the next two seasons, in addition to multiple re-signings made by the Bruins, has left the team looking at just over $500,000 to sign both Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin, neither of which could be had for such cheap money.

Though the Bruins clearly are in a predicament, it’s tough to blame them. In fact, it could be argued that they have actually done the best with the situation the offseason has put them in, with free agency in particular preventing them from potentially making a deal they may be interested in.

Though Ilya Kovalchuk has gotten plenty of attention for still not having signed a deal, the fact of the matter is that the high-scoring winger is not alone is prolonged free agent status. Alexander Frolov, Lee Stempniak, Marty Turco, Paul Kariya and Maxim Afinogenov are just a few of the big names that remain on the market 20 days into free agency.

As a result, general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week to expect the Bruins to be “relatively quiet” as they wrap up Wheeler and Seguin. This means that anyone who has been strung along by each murmur of a rumored deal including Marc Savard or Tim Thomas may be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, ilya kovalchuk, Marc Savard, Tim Thomas
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