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The Russian factor: Visnovsky staying overseas, Kovalchuk staying too? Markov still in Russia, Kulemin rumors false

6:20 PM:

  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Legally, the IIHF could ban Kovalchuk from all competitions, including the Sochi Olympics, if he doesn’t report to the Devils. Eric Macramalla asks if it would would compel him to honor his NHL contract? Malamud thinks that the KHL will likely be looking to find ways to prove that the NHL contract is void with the new CBA rules.
  • Slava Malamud via twitter: “To all asking, the only possible avenue for KHL to keep Kovalchuk/Datsyuk (IMO) is to try to prove their NHL deals are voided w/ new CBA. This way, they may argue they are not in breach of the KHL-NHL agreement and players can avoid IIHF sanctions. A very long shot, at best.”

3:50 PM:

  • Eric Macramalla via twitter: “Even though there’s agreement btw NHL and KHL on player movement form a legal standpoint little can be done to compel Kovalchuk to come back. NHL can apply pressure on KHL/IIHF; could sue for breach of contract but KHL team owner will cover; also ask court to force someone to play. If Devils reasonably believe he will not return they can void his contract and sue for breach; but cant force him to play. At present not sufficient basis to void Kovalchuk’s contract – want to get angrier – any attempt 2 void it will likely be contested by NHLPA “

3:10 PM:

  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Malamud is hearing that oil and natural gas magnates that own SKA and CSKA will look into ways to keep Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.
  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Kovalchuk: “Not in a hurry to get to America… Time will tell (if I stay in the KHL). Nothing is out of the question”
  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Kovalchuk to Sport-Express: “Datsyuk hasn’t left, either… If Medvedev says it’s OK, we’ll play in the All-Star Game”

1:50 PM:

  • Tom Gulitti via twitter: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello repeated again today that he has no reason to believe that Kovalchuk won’t be playing with the Devils this year.
  • David Pagnotta via twitter: Source close Kovalchuk: “Technically, there is no (CBA) yet, so he can keep playing in until (CBA) is official. He’ll be in NJ for camp.”
  • Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: The KHL has confirmed that they will honor their agreement with the NHL with respects to each other’s contracts.
  • Genadi Boguslavski via twitter: Kovalchuk on not excluding possibility of remaining in KHL: “I will stay in khl until end of the season? Let’s see, but this cannot be excluded” Kovalchuk tells SKA will not redeem his contract for New Jersey are not possible, “It is unreal. This is just talks.” Kovalchuk said he’s not in a rush to leave SKA: “A formal agreement in the NHL not signed yet, so why not play here”
  • Tom Gulitti via twitter: Bill Daly: “I’m not inclined to treat this as a “problem” unless or until its a ‘problem.’ It’s not and I don’t expect it to be.”
  • David Pagnotta via twitter: Kovalchuk could play Thursday before heading back to New Jersey. Pagnotta has been told that he’ll be back 100%.
  • Rich Chere via twitter: Kovalchuk had expressed concern about losing money on the contracts that they had already signed, as well as playing in the 2014 Olympics.
  • Darren Dreger via twitter: Bill Daly on Kovalchuk and KHL honoring deals, “We have no reason to believe the KHL will let them play” … “It would be inconsistent with our agreement with them.”

10:20 AM:

  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Ilya Kovalchuk said that ‘I will need to read the new agreement’ before deciding on what he’ll do next.

9:33 AM:

  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: There is some talk that KHL teams may be offering Russian stars “inducements” to stay in the KHL and not return to the NHL. Multiple sources have told McKenzie that NHL teams should do a roll call as a it’s possible a Russian player or 2 may not return. The NHL-KHL do have a pact to honor all contracts, but it has been suggested to McKenzie that the issue could heat up again.
  • Slava Malamud via twitter: Don’t expect Russian stars to say they are staying with the KHL, all said before that it was posturing. If there is someone who stays, it won’t be a big name player.
  • Arthur Staple via twitter: Lubomir Visnovsky has decided to stay in Slovakia for the rest of the season. Statement from Visnovsky:

    “I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. I am thankful to the #Isles for being so good to me. My decision not to play in the NHL is due to family and personal reasons. I have made no decisions on next season. My focus now is on Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country.”

  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: “NHL says it’s been assured KHL won’t let players with valid NHL deals play in KHL. Guess that “assurance” will be put to test. #visnovsky”
  • Arthur Staple via twitter: The Islanders have declined to comment on the Visnovsky situation. The Islanders and NHL both expect the player and KHL to honor all NHL contracts.
  • Alessandro Seren Rosso via twitter: Russian media is reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk is considering staying with SKA in the KHL. Doubtful that it happens. Bob McKenzie via twitter: McKenzie has heard the Kovalchuk rumors but not able to confirm them. Devils told him: “haven’t heard (Kovy) isn’t coming back.” Tom Gulitti via twitter: Lamoriello said the same thing yesterday, and had no reason to think that he wouldn’t be coming back. Bob McKenzie via twitter: Most of this Kovalchuk stuff is just rumors at this point. May turn up in New Jersey, but many hearing he may not. Tom Gulitti via twitter: ‘The NHL expects KHL to honor their agreement and not allow players under NHL contracts play in KHL after lockout is officially over.”
  • Dave Stubbs via twitter: Canadiens Markov will stay in Russia until he hears from the Canadiens to come back. He told Stubbs: “I’m not a 16 yr old boy, I make my decisions”
  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: There were rumors that Maple Leafs Nikolai Kulemin wouldn’t be coming back to Toronto, but his agent said last night that the rumors were false, and that he’ll be there.