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It's Russia or the Devil: Kings Bow Out of Kovy Race Again

According to Hockey Hall of Famer Helene Elliott of the LA Times:

The Kings have again said no to signing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk, this time appearing to close the door and lock it behind them.

General Manager Dean Lombardi ended his initial pursuit of the two-time 50-goal scorer Sunday but was “re-engaged” by Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman. After crunching the numbers of a proposal sent Wednesday by Grossman, the Kings calculated they couldn’t sign Kovalchuk and have salary cap space to retain the young players who are becoming the franchise’s cornerstones.

“We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players,” Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, said Wednesday night. “Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can’t let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap.”

This leaves Kovalchuk and his agent, Jay Grossman, with either A. Sign with the Devils at whatever offer Lou Lamoriello has on the table, B. Sign with a mystery team that hasn’t come up in the reports yet, C. Go home to Russia and bathe in gold krugerrands. The choice is his alone to make.