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Kings Inform Kovalchuk He Won't Play for "Foreseeable Future"


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1. Wanted to get to Los Angeles and Ilya Kovalchuk next. GM Rob Blake and JP Barry, who represents the Russian veteran, declined to comment in the process of reporting on this, but prior to last night’s 3-1 victory over Minnesota, Blake threw some cold water on the idea that Kovalchuk was done playing for them. He’s never lied to me about anything, so I wanted to throw everything out there. According to multiple sources, the Kings met with Kovalchuk Tuesday morning and told him they were going to remove him from the lineup. He left the arena and did not take the morning skate. There were several options that came up, including: working on a trade; leaving the team; staying until his bonus is paid in December, then leaving; mutually terminate (although I can’t imagine Kovalchuk walking away from the money unless it is coming from somewhere else); and, apparently, some pushback that he shouldn’t be forced to leave if he doesn’t want to.


During Blake’s availability, he repeatedly referred to Kovalchuk as “a healthy scratch.” Asked specifically if the winger could dress Thursday against Detroit, the GM replied, “Yeah, he’s a healthy scratch. I don’t know – there’s not much else I can say.” (Thank you to Jon Rosen for the transcript.) Post-game, head coach Todd McLellan added, “Just like the rest of the players, he’ll get his opportunity to come back in. We have to treat him like any other player.”


Captain Anze Kopitar: “Obviously not a great situation. (Kovalchuk) is a good guy. There’s nothing that’s wrong with the attitude or anything…. It’s just for whatever reason, it’s not working on the ice, and that’s about all I can say.”


So, there are a few moving parts.


2. The Kings have tried to move Kovalchuk for awhile, so they know the market. Maybe it gets easier after the December bonus, as his salary for the remainder of the season is a pro-rated $700,000. Maybe it gets easier in the summer, when he’s heading into the last year of his contract at a bonus-free $4.25 million for a club needing to get to the floor. Who knows? Because he signed as a 35-plus contract, the hit stays on the cap of whoever owns his rights until the end of next season. Even if he decides to play in Russia, it sticks. “He could get abducted and probed by aliens….still counts,” texted one helpful capologist.



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Why can’t they waive him? I feel like there’s more to the story than they telling us


He has a full No-Movement Clause. They can't place him on waivers, re-assign him, or trade him without his consent.


Isn’t that a restriction on a 35+ contract?



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