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What Might Have Been for the Kings
The Kings offered unrestricted free agent Ilya Kovalchuk $80 million for 15 years during the offseason trying to add an attacker to their top line. Kovi spurned the Kings' offer instead signing a 17-year, $102 million deal with the New Jersey Devils, and once that deal was invalidated by the NHL for circumventing salary cap rules he signed a 15-year, $100 million deal.
Since then the Kings have gotten off to a hot 11-3-0 start, best in the Western Conference, and looking like a team taking the next step in their maturation. Meanwhile the Devils are 5-10-2 and thanks to being weighed down by the Kovalchuk deal and injuries had problems early on in fielding a complete team. In fact for several games they didn't even have a fourth line.
To put it simply, the Devils had many issues to address during the offseason and put all their eggs in the Kovi basket. The Kings, had they signed Kovi, probably would be off the same hot start, but it would put them in a Devils-like conundrum further down the road as their young guns start becoming free agents. So maybe the headline is a little misleading.
Anyhow, all of this is a setup to what happened on Wednesday night in that great landfill known as Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center. Picture it: you're tied with the equally woeful Buffalo Sabres 4-4 after overtime and 1-1 after the first three shootout rounds. Buffalo just scored in their half of the fourth round, and here is Kovi to extend the shootout. Let's hear how the Buffalo announcing crew saw it:
Wow. Just wow. "Stick-handles himself towards oblivion." Wow.