Source Fire & Ice
The Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, are back at work trying to find a contract structure that is acceptable to them and to the NHL after the league rejected their most recent proposal—made Monday at the league’s Manhattan office.
When I reached him this morning, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello continued his stance of declining comment until the process reaches its end.
“I’m not going to have any comment whatsoever,” he said. “Everybody is running with everything here.”
When I asked Lamoriello if he is getting frustrated by anything in the process so far, he replied, “No. Absolutely not.”
As I mentioned earlier, Monday’s meeting was not the first time since arbitrator Richard Bloch’s Aug. 9 ruling that the Devils/Grossman discussed possible contract structure with the league. It has been an ongoing process. It seems, however, that the sides were hopeful they had a structure the NHL would approve this time around.
Lamoriello admitted that other team player-related business is on hold “to some degree.”
“I think it’s normal that we would be to some degree, but nothing is getting in the way with doing what we have to do,” he said.
Lamoriello said that fitness consultant Vladimir Bure will be joining former Devil Slava Fetisov in the KHL with the CSKA Moscow, but will remain a part-time consultant for the Devils.
“He’s going to stay in a consutlant way (beginning in) September,” Lamoriello said. “He’s taken a position with Slava in a vice president capacity—Slava is the president of the team. It’s something he wants to try. It’s more of a management position than he’s been here and he will also still be a part-time employee of ours.”
Some of you mentioned that you saw former Devil Sergei Brylin in New Jersey recently. Brylin was back in the area after his wife gave birth last month. but will be playing in the KHL again in the upcoming season for SKA St, Petersburg (the same team that’s been interested in Kovalchuk).
“This is where he will make his home in the future and he’s a Devil for life,” Lamoriello said of Brylin.
I also asked Lamoriello about the organization’s plans to play four Albany Devils’ games and one Trenton Devil game at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in the upcoming (dates, times and opponents listed in a previous post).
“The reception was exceptional in Atlantic City,” Lamoriello said. “By no means does that minimize the importance of Albany. As a matter of fact, we’re going into Albany (Thursday) for a press conference because the facility has been renovated: the locker rooms, offices. So, we’re going up there (Thursday). But I will say this: When I was asked about potentially putting games down there (in Atlantic City), I said, “ooh.” So, we went down in April and when I saw the facility, I was just shocked at how nice the building is and more important, the locker rooms and the space and the medical areas. It was very, very impressive. So, we put our heads together and we came up with that we’re going to play four (Albany) games there—and the American Hockey League has been extremely cooperative —and play them against teams that there are certain rivalries close to the area (Adirondack/Flyers, Hershey/Capitals, Wilkes Barre-Scranton/Penguins, Norfolk/Lightning). And then we’ll play one Trenton game there. So, it’s a very positive thing. What we’re doing is we’re putting two minor league franchises in another part of New Jersey where people can be exposed to our kids.”
Lamoriello said it is possible the Devils would play an NHL preseason game in Atlantic City against the Flyers in a future season if things go well with these five minor league games.
“I certainly would approach Philly if those five (minor league) games were supported because that’s certainly a market where Philly is, too,” Lamoriello said. “I would approach them if it was something that worked out. So, I threw the fish out there and if the support is there, we’ll certainly try it.”