A midst a seemingly steady flow of headlines and opinions about Ilya Kovalchuk's decision, even days after the fact, the latest story is about how Kovalchuk very well may have plans to return to the NHL in the not so distant future. It's a strange twist in what is without question the strangest storyline of the off-season so far.
Currently, he is a member of the "Voluntarily Retired" list, but that will no longer be the case once he hits his 35th birthday. At that point, he will become an unrestricted free agent for NHL purposes, despite the original contract that he signed with the New Jersey Devils that was for 15 years. [NESN]
Three years seems pretty exact of an estimation for his sister to specify, given the news that Kovalchuk has signed a 4-year deal with the KHL's SKA St. Petersberg... though at this point, I think we've learned to take contract length with a grain of salt, when it comes to Ilya's negotiations. Monetary terms of the deal have yet to be announced, but you can bet it's a hefty chunk of change. [Yahoo!]
Alexei Kovalev isn't surprised at all by Ilya's decision to leave the NHL. He lists more money, lower taxes, playing in his home country, and an exciting expanding KHL as the reasons the move makes sense. Don't be surprised to see more players jumping ship to what very well may be the WHA of the 21st century. [Montreal Gazette]
Jeremy Roenick, on the other hand, was very surprised by the decision. In his own words, he was appalled. The always out-spoken and excitable pundit totally flew off the hook, tweeting like a tweenaged girl about his anger for Ilya. It was heavy on vitriol and exclamation points. [Huffington Post]
He also went on some tirades against fellow tweeters that interacted with him, basically taking the stance of "If you don't agree with me, you can just go to Russia too! Nah-Nahnah Boo Boo." Most of those tweets got deleted, however... so you'll just have to trust HFBoards for their veracity. [HFBoards]
Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has clarified his stance on embattled former-Bruin Tyler Seguin. He was once quoted as saying that Seguin needs to mature and learn to be a professional, but is now saying that never had any issues with him during his time in Boston. Good to see a positive headline with some positive quotes that can't be spun into something negative by the media. [Dallas Morning News]
Boston folk hero Patrice Bergeron isn't going anywhere any time soon. His new eight year contract will keep him in black and gold well into his thirties. Both sides seem to be enamored with one another, with Bergeron already talking about plans to retire with the Bruins organization some day. [WEEI]
Former Stars center Mike Ribeiro is looking forward to reuniting with his former coach from his time in Dallas, Dave Tippett. Ribeiro completely turned his career around, and became the legitimate scoring threat that he is, while under Dave Tippett's tutelage. It's good that the Dallas Stars are no longer in the same division with the Coyotes, because this feels like a match that could be very successful. [Associated Press]
Another reason to warm up to the Coyotes is Max Domi. The son of former tough-guy Tie Domi just signed his entry level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. He's one of the few players in the world that can probably teach Mike Ribeiro a few more "shades of sexy" that he may not already know. Those two could be dangerous. [Five For Howling]
Today's video is a slightly dated feature on the newest Dallas Star, Shawn Horcoff. The only negative thing you'll ever hear about the guy is that Oilers fans think he's overpaid, but even those that were happy to see their captain traded will tell you that he's an absolute gem of a human being. This video backs that up.