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Kovalev doubles his salary // Post-Gazette
Gets $8.85 million for 2 years
Alexei Kovalev was out on a local golf course last night when he got the word that an NHL salary arbitrator had awarded him a two-year contract worth $8.85 million, nearly doubling the amount the Penguins will pay him.
He felt as if he had just nailed a double-eagle.
"I'm very happy with it," he said. "But I'm not surprised. I feel it's a fair contract."
Arbitrator Claude Foisy, who conducted the hearing Sunday in Toronto,
ruled yesterday that Kovalev would receive $4.25 million next season, $4.6
million the following season and bonuses which could push his annual earnings
close to $5 million. For the moment, he is the Penguins' highest-paid player,
although that could change when owner Mario Lemieux negotiates his own
deal next month.
Unlike other players who have been stung by the process, Kovalev expressed no regrets.
"I know some guys are happy and some aren't, but I'm just glad it's over," he said. "To me, the biggest feeling now is relief. I don't have to worry about anything going into the season except playing hockey. I want to go and have the same kind of year again."
Kovalev's award was the second highest for any NHL player this summer, behind the one-year, $5.1 million award for Boston Bruins right winger Bill Guerin. Kovalev had 10 more points than Guerin and has posted superior numbers for his career, so the bid he filed in his arbitration brief was for a salary comparable to Guerin's. The Penguins are believed to have offered $2.5 million.
"I was looking for a little more, but that doesn't bother me," Kovalev said. "Not at all."
The arbitration ruling was the Penguins' fourth. Left winger Martin Straka received a two-year deal worth $7.2 million, center Robert Lang a one-year deal worth $2.9 million and center Jan Hrdina a two-year deal worth $2.25 million.
Straka and Lang have been Kovalev's regular linemates for more than two years, and he hopes the raises they received don't prompt the team to trade any of them.
A team can reject an arbitration ruling within 72 hours, but such events are rare because that player then becomes an unrestricted free agent. Instead, a team unhappy with a decision usually tries to trade the player to a club willing to take on the salary.
"I'd love to be on a line with Marty and Langer again," Kovalev said. "When you get to know how guys play with you, the line can only get better and better."
The Penguins' final arbitration hearing is scheduled for today with
Страничка Алексея Ковалёва на
сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
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21 сентября. Форвард «Монреаля» Алексей Ковалев: 37 удалений за матч? Я не удивлен - "Советский Спорт".
29 августа. Форвард «Монреаля» Алексей Ковалев: Дайте народу зрелище - Советский Спорт
12 июля. Алексей Ковалев: Гуденау понимает, что он виноват - Советский Спорт