The Meeting(s)

Just a couple things as we hopefully creep toward some type of resolution on this Ilya Kovalchuk situation…

Most importantly, there is no deal in place and there is no press conference scheduled. If you follow college sports, think of this as a version of a recruiting trip, a chance to talk face to face. Now, that said, it’s not exactly typical. I noticed that Dean Lombardi didn’t repeat his very first comment, which was that Kovalchuk was visiting “just like any free agent would.” Well, I’ve been covering Lombardi’s transactions for four years, and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I know, for a fact, that Rob Scuderi didn’t come to L.A. when he signed last summer. So Kovalchuk’s mere presence here would suggest that there’s reason for mutual optimism between the Kings and Kovalchuk, given that they presumably seek to get a deal done, but it’s no slam dunk.

Since last night, I’ve been trying to find some history these kind of trips. It seems as though, at some point, NHL teams were allowed to pay for a player to fly out and visit the team/city, but that teams are no longer allowed to foot the bill. If you follow the Lakers, you’ll note that Derek Fisher took a “recruiting trip” to Miami a few days ago and apparently got a contract offer from the Heat but has not yet signed with any team.

It’s likely that Kovalchuk will get the grand tour today. As I recall, Terry Murray went through something similar before the Kings hired him, including a trip downtown to the AEG offices. I don’t know how much information we’ll get about today’s “meetings.” I wouldn’t expect anything in-depth, but we’ll see. For now, I’ll leave the last week to The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek, who has a real good piece today on the situation…

Kovalchuk, Kings taking smart approach to NHL marriage

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