And so that's how the story ends...
Yeah right, we could only hope. Ilya has only been hired as a mercenary for the Devils, he'll still be available come July 1st unless something happens with the team before then.
But Lou did it, like a cunning cheetah stalking his unsuspecting prey in the night. Getting back his undrafted Finnish defenseman, Anssi Salmela, that he plucked out of the Worlds, and sent to Atlanta for Nik Havelid. Not to mention ridding himself of Patrice Cormier's elbow heard round the hockey world, a slumping Johnny Oduya, and a big question mark in Nik Bergfors.
Cormier could definetely be a solid NHLer and every indication from Juniors says that, but his flying elbow from the top rope that sent Michael Tam into convulsions has really put a dark cloud on his future. Lamoriello, ever the strategist, played the PR end beautifully, by standing behind his prospect, as well as the ruling handed out by the QMJHL, publicly in both cases. And even though Lou may not have wanted to part with him, its a win/win for him in the instance that there will be plenty more Cormier's, and he's got Kovalchuk.
Lou also had to give up his first round pick in 2010 to make the deal work, and the Devils and Thrashers have also swapped second rounders in the same draft. Time will only tell what those picks will produce, and it may not be anything in the near future.
And what does Waddell have? Well right now it appears as a whole lot of nothin'. I don't know what would be the amount that it would take for it to look like Don won. I don't know if Don can ever win. Between this and the Hossa trade he looks like a bumbling idiot, grabbing stacks of cash out of an open register laughing madly as he runs away, only to find out that its mostly ones and fives.
I honestly don't see how this team survives in Atlanta. Crumbling ownership, a fairweather fanbase, and a foolish General Manager spell disaster, I just don't know how its lasted this long. Who is the face of the franchise? Who do you put on billboards all over the City to raise intrest come next season? Its not an ultimately damning issue but it seriously does not look good.
And in the same respect, Donny had to do it, he had no choice. He was, at best, misled by Kovalchuk in his statements that he wanted to stay while turning down several, more than, lucrative offers. If Ilya signs for less elsewhere, we'll know that to be fact, and yet who can blame him for the same reasons we listed above.
And so he goes off to New Jersey, the home of Marty Brodeur, the best goaltender of all time, and Zach Parise, and Jamie Langenbrunner, and maybe even Patrik Elias, but also the home of Jacques Lemaire and his suffocating style of defense first hockey. I still don't see how that works with a one-dimensional player like Kovy. Does he get benched between now and April for not backchecking? Or will Lemaire have the directive from Lou to let him slide as long as he's scoring goals?
Here's another one for you, what if he gets injured in the Olympics? Then what? Most likely the Devils will be able to survive at least for a little while in the post, but will they be able to take it all the way? Its an all-or-nothing attitude coming out of the Prudential Center now with this move. Its Cup or bust now, and this from adding a guy who's been in four playoff games an added a goal and an assist.
But its over, (for now), and we can all go on with the rest of our lives.