Friday, December 18, 2009

Concern Sports Columnist is Concerned

Apparently today is one of the days on Jeff Schultz's "5 hockey articles a year" plan, and he's written a dandy, all about the increasingly crazy-making Kovalchuk situation.

There was a report this week in a Russian sports newspaper that negotiations between the Thrashers and Kovalchuk now are at an impasse, that he asked for a 10-year contract at the maximum salary allowed by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement (20 percent of the salary cap, the equivalent of $11.3 million per season) and the team balked.

Now, I know two things about unsourced reports on contract negotiations: 1) You often can’t believe them, especially when they’re in Russian newspapers; 2) Talks can change with one phone call. I’ve also learned that the most honest guy tends to be the player. I once covered a protracted negotiation and quickly discovered that both the general manager and the player’s agent were lying to me about their proposals. Fortunately, the player was telling me the truth.

OK, so Jeff Schultz has written to tell us that he knows what's going to happen with Kovalchuk because
1) he's heard tell of that article in SovSport and perhaps even used Google Translate to look at some version of it.
2) he knows the SovSport article is very likely bullshit, as Russian papers, the Russian KHL, and even the Russian government (if you think I'm exaggerating I'd be happy to discuss the particulars of this some other time) have a vested interest in Kovalchuk not signing in Atlanta.
3) Don Waddell is saying the same things he's been saying forever.

He doesn't know any more about the situation than any other Earth-dwelling human apart from Kovalchuk and Waddell and Jay Grossman, but he implies throughout the piece that Kovalchuk definitely won't re-sign.

Now, I'm not saying that Kovalchuk will re-sign. I'm not saying he won't re-sign. Alas, I can't read the dude's mind. I get more anxious about it as the days wear on, and I think Waddell is making himself look ridiculous by constantly moving the goalposts ("we'll have a deal by the start of the year" becomes "we won't be talking about this at Christmas," etc.).

All I'm saying is that you get the sports columnists you deserve. Have a nice day.


Big Shooter said...

Believe it or not, I didn't think Schultz was saying he certainly won't sign. I think he was just saying he is less optimistic than a month ago.

I still think Kovy will sign, but hell, I'm less optimistic than I was a month ago...

Daculafan said...

I think as this becomes more protracted we're all getting less optimistic. I wrote an article about it yesterday for (shameless self promotion)

If there is any veracity to the story that ownership is balking then I say we gather the torches and pitchforks and stand outside the offices of the owners (note I didn't say DWad..I think he'd sign his own mother over if it would get the deal done)

Finally, Merry Christmas to the Chronicle guys are hella-awesome..

the jointhead said...

Everything the czar needed the team to show has been shown, and I don't belive the organization wouldn't back up the truck for him. I have a bad feeling the czar will be playing in russia next year for a gazillion bucks, a siberian oil well, and a high ranking position in the russian govt. Do they have a sports czar in russia?

GoPuckYourself said...

I agree with Daculafan. DW said we wouldn't be talking about this by Christmas. Well, X-mas is a week away. If the Czar isn't signed, sealed, and delivered by next Friday, let's get an organized protest together before an upcoming home game. We conveniently go on a 7 game road trip over X-mas and New Years. Maybe Saturdary January 9th VS the Caps, since it'll be a packed house there to see Ovechkin.

I'm just sayin.

Big Shooter said...

Merry Christmas to all our Chronicle Readers as well.

Mortimer Peacock said...


I think that's a distinction without a difference. Schultz is saying he's less optimistic, but everyone is less optimistic, and the article isn't really saying anything new. There's no insight into the situation; it's just "well, Kovalchuk still hasn't re-signed." Something any of us could have written.

What I'm saying is that I don't see any reason for this column's existence.

j_barty_party said...

Paying the Czar max coin (or anymore than $9.5 M / yr) will do more harm to this team long-term than not getting him re-upped at all. I just fear that DWad won't be able to "draw the line in the sand" properly, you know, with diplomatic aplomb and all. He's a rather awkward feller. Grossman prolly thinks he's a jackalope.

h said...

This does get more and more distressing as each day goes on. On a positive note, we gave up 275 shots last night and won our first game with the red jerseys. I am taking partial credit as I shelved my own red jersey and wore my blue one to help "reverse the curse" as the kids say............ said...

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