Given a choice between Ottawa and the KHL, Alexei Kovalev chose the warmer climate. He was misinformed.
Trite jokes aside, it is understandable if Senators fans see this as a sop to getting Dany Heatley back in the fold. The Senators are apparently over the salary cap, but teams can stickhandle around that $56.8-million figure. They can be above it by 10 per cent for one year and can always bury players in the AHL, which means Jason Smith was awfully prescient to get a Skype account in the 607 area code.
After a decade and a half in the league, Kovalev, like his homeland, a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but he can still get it done every once in a while. Montréal Canadiens fans taking to the streets to lobby for Habs GM Bob Gainey to re-sign him, so Senators fans can relish the signing for that reason.
It does fairly smack of Bryan Murray doing the equivalent of taking one of those Senators logo pacifiers which were recalled last week and sticking in owner Eugene Melnyk's gob. (British expressions, really?)
Meantime, you might have read, via Puck Daddy, a report about "projections that the poor economy will cause the salary cap to dip from $56.8 million to as low as $50 million for 2010-11." It might be important to keep in mind that is a worst-case scenario and a lot of NHL teams are taking the stance they'll come to the bridge when the cross it vis-à-vis the salary cap.
Last and not least, a good question for Senators fans: Would you rather have 36-year-old Alexei Kovalev, or 28-year-old Martin Havlat, who signed with the Minnesota Wild?