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Ilya Kovalchuk

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    I would first like state that I am addressing this rumor because it is, in fact, circulating around the league that Toronto is interested in the Atlanta Thrashers’ sniper Ilya Kovalchuk. Yes, this rumor did come to light due to an Eklund blog, but no, it is not fake. In fact, every team in the league would love to get their hands on Kovalchuk. So there you have it, the rumor is true, but it was an easy one to pinpoint by Eklund because every single team in the league understands that Kovalchuk is available, and every single team in the league would love to have him on their powerplay. It’s as simple as that. Now to the non-obvious part.

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      Wanted to take a minute and congratulate our very own Gus Katsaros on his segment on the Fan590 this afternoon.  Outstanding analysis of both the Phil Kessel/Savard relationship and analysis of the Boston Bruins schedule last year vs this year.  The little snip at Mr MacLean at the end was priceless as well..  Congrats Gus, and again, wonderful work..

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        By now, I’m sure many of you have seen ESPN’s report of a significant offer by the Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel: two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. The general reflex reaction that we’ve been conditioned to by the Toronto media the last few seasons is to avoid moving 1st round selections by any means necessary. The thought of moving two such commodities is beyond horrifying. I’ve seen the name Taylor Hall used as the backbone of many an argument over the last few days, often associated with the “chance” of landing said player. If we’re gonna turn this into a game of chance, let’s at least get all the cards on the table.

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          Looks like we can get ready to cross off another free agent target off the list. A few weeks after Blue Jackets sniper Rick Nash agreed to an 8 year, $62.5M contract to stay in Columbus, a Russian source is reporting that the Atlanta Thrashers are expected to ink star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a record-setting contract worth $11.36M a season, which is 20% of the team’s total cap ($58.6M) and the maximum salary a player can receive under the current CBA. The two-time 50 goal scorer will now shatter Ovechkin’s previous record annual salary of $9M a year.

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            In the first column of this two-part series, we took a quick look at Leaf prospect Jiri Tlusty’s breakout campaign in the American Hockey League this season. Entering a season where expectations were tempered and hope and patience were preached, we’ve been privy to a few oustanding seasons by Leaf youngsters across all levels of junior, minor, and collegiate hockey. Today, the spotlight’s on Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts.

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              A combination of terrible goaltending and suspect defensive coverage undid the Maple Leafs tonight as they sat on an early 3-0 lead thinking they would ride it to the finish line, failing to take into the account the fact that, with a goaltender that’s seriously struggling between the pipes, leads can disappear on the turn of a dime, let alone over the course of 40 minutes. The end result is one which will please neither side of tanking/playoff spectrum.

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                In non-news, Cliff Fletcher recently reiterated via e-mail that the reported rumours suggesting he’s pursuing Atlanta’s sniper Ilya Kovalchuk are “rumours without merit.”

                Thought I would just confirm this.

                [email protected]

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                  >>>DISCUSS IN THE FORUMS

                  With the imposition of the salary cap taking some clout away from the financial Super Powers (or so they say), the “new” NHL focuses upon the importance of successful drafting and a constant flow of young players on cheap, entry-level contracts. With scouts now being dispatched to all corners of the globe, it’s getting to be quite a small world. The boundaries of the Hockey Community are ever-growing, and we’re starting to find ourselves with a neat little global village forming in the NHL.