Monday, January 4, 2010

Nom Nom Nom

(updated below; updated AGAIN below)

In the comments the other day, famous Chronicle operative "Jay" mentioned a Pierre LeBrun blog post over at about the Kovalchuk situation. Something about the possibility of the Blackhawks trading for Kovalchuk purely as a rental player, so that Chicago could make a truly hellacious push for the Stanley Cup this year. You know: Kane, Toews, Hossa, Kovalchuk, famous Olympic couple Keith and Seabrook, etc. It's not totally unthinkable, especially when you consider what LeBrun says in an interview with ESPN Chicago, today:

We know the Hawks have talked to a lot of teams about a lot of things. No surprise there. In your opinion, are they still going to try and shave salary while also trying to pick up a defenseman for the stretch? Or is the shaving to be done after the season? Or is it too fluid to predict?

PL: As I reported in my blog over the weekend, one interesting theory thrown at me by an NHL executive recently was that he believed the Hawks might be a surprise entry in the Illya Kovalchuk sweepstakes if the Thrashers do indeed decide to move him. At first blush, it doesn't make sense given Chicago's cap issues, but the executive told me that's exactly the point. Because Kovalchuk is UFA July 1, his theory is that the Hawks pick him solely as a star rental, trade to Atlanta a couple of signed players (let's say Versteeg/Barker for the heck of it). So in one fell swoop, they gear up for the Cup with Kovalchuk but also alleviate their off-season cap issues with dumping two salaries players. Again, it's just a theory from another executive, and at this point I don't think Chicago and Atlanta have talks, but it is food for thought.

Sumptuous, delicious food for thought. Food for--what? You know, I was talking to some guy the other day ("a source") and he told me that he could imagine Kovalchuk taking over Jimmy Fallon's terrible late night show. Food for thought.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle has sent its ace reporter, the Short Handed Mole, to infiltrate Don Waddell's office and get the real story.

UPDATE: I should probably make clear here that Chicago would be one of the first teams on my list if there's no way Kovy is going to re-sign. If he must go, Versteeg/Barker/someone else (Campbell?) wouldn't be a bad return for, say, Kovalchuk, Hainsey, and someone else. Gazing into the comments section, I can see Mr. Speaker thinks the same thing. This might necessitate a "who do you want for Kovalchuk?" thread...

UPDATE II: Stu Hackel at the New York Times hockey blog Slap Shot does a good job of rounding up the various "will he or won't he?" hearsay-and-conjecture articles that have been published in the last few weeks.


the jointhead said...

I really get the feeling kovy will be elswhere soon. I also get the feeling the team beleives so as well. They were hot and heavy right through the time when kovy should have been putting his name on the dotted line, then down hill since then. The quicker he signs or gets gone the better for the team. Its sad one man has such an impact on our entire team, but that seems the case. Hope its over this week one way or the other.

j_barty_party said...

Throw in Hainsey for Campbell (Soupy) and they can save another $2.65 M!! Hell, give 'em Popovic while we're at it so we can call up Kulda sooner than later!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

Unless of course Kovy wants to stay this week and shows how much with his signature. Then just cut Todd White and try to find a sucker for Ron Hainsey-hoff's and his greasy fro.

Mortimer Peacock said...

It is inconceivable that the Sharks might want him, right? I mean, a line of Kovalchuk-Thornton-Heatley, with Marleau scoring merrily away on the second line (and actually leading the team in goals), plus Dan Boyle, might be too much money, never know. Maybe we could get...Setoguchi?

I might be willing to ship him out to Hollywood in exchange for Jack Johnson, a 1st, Dustin Brown, and various others...

Anonymous said...

We are SO screwed. Can we burn Fraudell in effigy after the trade? What makes anyone think that this GM is going to get a decent return on Kovy if he is traded? The Hossa trade certainly doesn't give much hope. (and no I'm not counting prospects we might have gotten in later deals!!)

h said...

Just tell me this isn't really going to happen. Really? If he goes I will fully believe that this team will NEVER sign a superstar, which would be horribly disappointing. That being said, Barker, Versteeg and one other good young player and I guess I'll continue to go to games this year.....I guess......if Kovy goes, then what do you do about the other UFAs. I would hope you continue to try to sign them....but would they really sign? maybe.

Mortimer Peacock said...


Way I see it, if he leaves there are only two possibilities:

1) Attendance plummets to almost no one, but eventually the young Thrashers team pulls together a stellar playoff run and draws the fans back in, a la the hysterical spring of 2007. Their winning ways also draw hockey stars back to Atlanta.

2) Attendance plummets to almost no one, the Thrashers continue to suck, no star ever signs here again, game over, franchise is done.

Obvious, I know.

j_barty_party said...

After deeper deliberation, I can see I let my impetuous enthusiasm for the Chicago trade scenario clould my judgment. I doubt they would want Ron Hainsey...hell, we don't even want Hainsey! But if they could unload Soupy to the team he nearly went to, then they wouldn't have to give up Barker. If they want a puck-mover to replace Soupy, perhaps they will consider it, but then they'd have to give up something else to make it work under the cap. If Kovy wants a shot at a Cup run rental, and tells us he would give us consideration come July (think Tkachuk and St. Louis), then I'd be fine with Campbell and Versteeg for Kovy. Hell, we could even throw in Pavs or Moose to sweeten the deal if they don't want Ron.

Wouldn't it be a dream of all dreams to basically steal Versteeg and Campbell from them and still get Kovy to come back?? Uh, yeah!

Here's another scenario: Chicago might be desperate enough to do the deal if they can unload Huet's albatross of a contract. If Lehtonen comes back in 2 wks, plays well, then we'll have some leverage in a potential deal by which we get Huet, Versteeg & Brouwer for Kovy, Lehts and a prospect / pick (or something along those lines).

Could we make the playoffs with:

Kane - Antro - Max
Versteeg - Pevs - Lits
Slava - White - Army
Brouwer - Reasy - Thor

Same D with Huet / Moose or Pavs

Tough question. Would Huet be any better over time in front of the same D? But our forwards would be better collectively on D and perhaps help keep the shots down.

Chicago could be the dream partner in some scenarios, but they hold all the cards as they don't *HAVE* to do anything till June 25, 2010.

Mutton Sourdough said...