The two-time 50-goal scorer was due to arrive in Los Angeles on Sunday night and is scheduled to meet Monday with General Manager Dean Lombardi and other Kings executives. [...] Lombardi and the Kings had been conducting their negotiations with Kovalchuk's New York-based agent, Jay Grossman, and had not talked to Kovalchuk, who has a home in Fisher Island, Fla. However, Lombardi will now have a chance to woo the Russian left wing in person, perhaps show him around the South Bay communities where players live, and sell him on the pluses of living and playing here. [...] The Kings reportedly have offered two deals: 12 years at $63 million and 13 years at $84.5 million. Kovalchuk turned those down because he wanted and [sic] Alexander Ovechkin-like $10 million per season. It's believed his agent also asked for a low salary and high signing bonus to be paid in the 2012-13 season -- the season that could be lost to a lockout if the NHL and the NHL Players' Assn. can't agree on a new labor deal. Salaries would not be paid during a lockout but signing bonuses would have to be paid. With no other NHL team willing to give Kovalchuk a contract for more than a year or two and Russia's KHL his least-favored option, the 27-year-old left wing's options appear limited. The Kings hope they can soon clinch the deal with terms they consider reasonable, maybe eight or nine years for about $8 million per year.
I bolded the two bits I thought were interesting. The first, because I suspected as much (even though it makes about zero sense for a player not to talk directly to his prospective boss, when making a decision that would affect the rest of his career). The second, because it clarifies that previous Lombardi utterance, "a deal so complex, with ramifications so big..." etc.. I have to admit, that's a pretty clever thought by Grossman, to have no salary to speak of in a year that might be lost to a lock-out, and have it all in a deferred signing bonus instead. When not tweeting, he's not a total cretin.
[For all the Kovalchuk posts, click on the word Kovalchuk under the headline of this post, which will take you to the Kovalchuk section in which you will find lots more on Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk.]