Two things: a) I didn't intend to create a new post for this, but it's the most logical place to put all the reports together.
Basically, you can believe what you want to right now.
What we do know is that the LA Times quoted Dean Lombardi as saying that either Kovalchuk denied the Kings or Lombardi withdrew his offer and interest to Kovalchuk. That surprises me to a certain extent, this could mean that the Islanders' 10-year/$100M deal has been offered to Grossman and Kovalchuk, or that the Kings are simply in need of defense and will pass up the sniper. Either way, the early favorite is gone...for now.
Then there's the Islanders. If Kovalchuk wants to be "the man" somewhere and also earn a big paycheck, then he might be on his way to Long Island. There have been rumors of him looking at real estate in the Brooklyn area, but maybe he would live there anyway if he signed in New Jersey, because of the Russian community there. The question is, are the Islanders going to actually offer Kovy the 10-year deal or are they just hanging out looking at other teams?
The other two teams that reportedly entered late, Colorado and Philly, are both interesting options. There are reports and blogs out of Colorado today that they were never involved in discussions and do not plan to enter. But both teams contacted Kovy's Russian agent rather than Jay Grossman, which doesn't make sense either. Kovalchuk's Russian agent then stated that Philly did not contact him and he does not see truth to Kovy going to the Flyers.
Then there's the Devils. There hasn't been much news on the Devils, but most people (i.e. Dreger, Cullen and the TSN bloggers) believe that the Devils, despite being quiet yesterday and today, are still in pursuit of Kovy, and why not? Well, Lou did say that he expects more changes to the Devils roster, possibly via trade, which is the only likely way the Devils can create the balance of cap space Kovalchuk's contract will demand. Right now the Devils stand around $4M, and Lou may need to clear $5M or so to keep Kovy.
If you put the pieces together, which I tried to do here, Philly never really contacted Grossman, and therefore they are simply hanging around to jack the price up on Kovalchuk to two division rivals, the Devils and potentially the Islanders. If Kovalchuk wants money, then he may end up with the Islanders, but consider this: Kovy stayed with Atlanta for eight years, why not be loyal to the team that he saw more playoff games over half a season than Atlanta did in eight seasons?
I am interested to hear what you guys think. (is LA really out of it?)