Dear Mr Lombardi,
I want to thank you for all you have done for Los Angeles Kings hockey and for hockey on the west coast in general, awesome job, you and your staff should be commended for putting together this young and exciting team.
The reason i'm writing is to make a comment on your courtship of Ilya Kovalchuk. I want to let you know a few reasons why i'm against this player coming to the Kings.
I believe that in a salary cap world, the way to win Stanley Cups is to 'invent' your own 10 million dollar player as opposed to paying 10 million dollars to a guy like this when you can draft your own 10 million dollar guys. If you are the NY Yankees, you can pay anyone anything and there's really no need to draft well, but in hockey, with a salary cap, you can't be paying 10 million dollars per season to a guy who's just going to come in and not play defense. For 10 mil, you have ot be an all around player, i'm not sure IK is a defensive 'specialist'.
Also, the Eastern Conference is the B league while the West is the A league. These two leagues don't even compare. Look at some of the players who have gone from the east to the west and vice versa. Steve Montador was playing regular minutes for the Sabres (a top team in the east) and he wasn't good enough to even crack the top 6 D men for the Anaheim Ducks, who finished far back in the west this year. Montador leaves Anaheim as a guy who wasn't even good enough to hold a roster spot and becomes a star with the Sabres.
Kovalchuk went to the Devils and was no factor for a team who was embarrassed by the Flyers. The Flyers have shown that they are a horrible team and they're on the verge of being beaten handily in the series by the Bruins (who are just an average eastern team and wouldnt have been close to making the playoffs had they been in the west and playing western teams on a regular basis)
I'm all for bringing in an offensive star to the mix. But, i'd prefer to bring in a Western conference star instead of Kovalchuk, who cried and created a bunch of drama and refused to play for the Thrashers.
Kovalchuk is the guy the LA fans are going to boo when things go wrong. Do you want your fans boo-ing your 10 million dollar 'free agent' when he's underachieveing during the playoffs? This guy was the 'savior' for the Devils but didn't show too much heart trying to get the Devils to the next level.
Acquiring players like this, you better be right , or its going to cripple your franchise for years, holding onto this 'poster boy' for excessive waste, a guy who won't lay his body on the line to win a playoff game, a guy who might be too busy trying to get a max contract. Why would this guy lay it all on the line if you guarantee him 50 million dollars or something absurd?
There are western conference Stars out there who are available at much less money and they're just as good, or better than Kovalchuk.
If you want to sell tickets and have an exciting regular season player who's going to light up 40 goals while making a bunch of fancy passes, than Kovy might be for you. If your goal is to win Stanley Cups, i'm not sure how Kovalchuk is going to help you do that. He didnt help Atlanta and he didn't help NJ, why are we thinking he's going to help the Kings?
Thanks for listening.