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In the meantime, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that other teams have called Grossman with one- and two-year offers, hoping to convince Kovalchuk to do a Marian Hossa, a la Detroit in 2008-09. But a long-term deal is much more preferable since it would cover off part of the next CBA.
A long-term deal is what Kovalchuk really wants. But where? If the Kings remain out, the Devils are the likeliest destination, although Lamoriello will spend the rest of the summer trying to move bodies if he signs Kovalchuk.
Then, there's the KHL. Evgeni Nabokov signed with SKA St. Petersburg on Wednesday, so if Kovalchuk were to also go there, the club would apparently pay a hefty luxury tax. It doesn't seem like a fit at this point, although ESPN.com did receive this e-mail Thursday in response to a query made Monday to KHL president and SKA owner Alexander Medvedev:
"Dear Mr. Lebrun, in reply to your message sent July 05 to Mr. Medvedev's e-mail address we once again on behalf of Mr. Medvedev confirm that yes, it is true: SKA has offered Ilya Kovalchuk a contract."Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.