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On the Beat: Talks with Kovalchuk moving slowly

Early this afternoon, team beat writers are talking about Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract negotiations, R.J. Umberger’s chances of playing for Team USA, Dany Heatley’s silence and the tragic passing of Jose Theodore’s infant son.

  • Apparently Ilya Kovalchuk’s negotiations with the Thrashers are progressing slowly, but there haven’t been any significant hold-ups so far.  He needs to see a commitment to winning there before he re-signs.  With players like Enstrom, Bogosian, Lehtnonen, Little and Kane there is a chance to turn that ship around, but they need to convince Kovalchuk of that pretty soon.
  • R.J. Umberger will not be left off the USA Olympic team because of any past differences with Brian Burke.  Burke isn’t that type of guy, he won’t put himself before the States’ chances in Vancouver.
  • Mike Heika profiles new Stars defenseman Jeff WoywitkaI liked this signing by Dallas.  It wasn’t that expensive, he’s big and a good skater and they could have done worse in the market at that price.
  • James Gordon wonders if Dany Heatley will talk this weekendI bet he’ll have a prepared statement ready for the orientation camp.  I don’t see him saying much more.
  • In tragic news, Jose Theodore’s two-month old son has passed awayOur condolences go out to Theodore and his family.