It would totally be worth it. And then he can "retire" and go to the KHL. Probably wouldn't cost us that much, either.
I don't like Ilya Kovalchuk. Before this year, I didn't know him well enough not to like him. But he's always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it's that kilt picture. Maybe it's the fact that I've seen him score lots of goals that don't matter on a team that wasn't going anywhere, never seen him backcheck, never seen him be a f-ing player on a team.
Look, Gretzky didn't backcheck a whole lot either, but he had his own style of defense, which was that he just wouldn't let you have the puck.
You can say what you want about Chris Pronger (and I have said my share), but he shows up, he marshalls the forces, and this year we saw him more or less will his team to win. And they nearly won it all. Compare to Kovy:
- Three Olympic appearances, in which Russia managed to win Bronze, nothing, and more nothing.
- won a couple of gold medals at the "World Championships" a.k.a. that tournament that you get to play in when your team doesn't make the NHL playoffs. Which sounds about right. He's elite in a second rate tournament that nobody cares about.
- Eight NHL playoff games. Record 1-7. Scored once in the 2007 first round series in which Atlanta was swept. Scored twice when New Jersey, an elite team playing the 7th seed, managed one win and was done in five games.
I'll tell you one more thing. There's absolutely no reason for this to have dragged on six days (to say nothing of the last three months, if it turns out all he wanted to do was re-sign in Newark). Grossman keeps talking about working out the details, like there are...details. There are no details. There's money and term. There's which year gets which dollar amount. And for how long. That's it. The CBA prescribes and limits what can and what can't be in a contract. There are no bonuses. No other kinds of payment (non-cash). Nothing. Just how much and for how long.
The whole idea of "banging out the details" is absurd. You agree on the phone, you fax over a deal memo (or whatever they call it in the NHL -- a piece of paper that confirms what you agreed to). Everyone signs it. You're done.
All of this mulling and ruminating and sleeping on it really gets on my nerves. My six year old can consider the different possibilities of which kind of ice cream he's going to have for a half hour, without a thought of the people waiting for him to make up his mind. But he's six. He doesn't understand he's not actually the center of the world.