When New Jersey Devils star winger Ilya Kovalchuk takes part in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, he will try to prevent the Los Angeles Kings from hoisting the Stanley Cup, which was something many Kings fans used to envision the Russian star doing for their team.
The Kings made a hard push to sign Kovalchuk as a free agent during the summer of 2010, but he ultimately chose to re-sign with the Devils, who had acquired him from the Atlanta Thrashers via trade at the deadline that year.
Here is an excerpt from an article by Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times from July 4, 2010 when the Kings were done pursuing Kovalchuk.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday afternoon that the high-scoring free agent decided against joining the Kings, who had targeted him as the productive winger they urgently need and a marquee player who might generate some buzz around town.
"We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team's," Lombardi said in an email.
Almost two years later, there is a buzz around the Los Angeles area, and Kovalchuk is not a part of it.
The Kings have been able to bring in big-time stars like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter through trades, and players such as goalie Jonathan Quick, center Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty have become superstar talents.
However, you can bet that Dean Lombardi would love to hoist the Stanley Cup by beating Kovalchuk after the Russian star turned down the Kings two summers ago.
Kovalchuk is playing at a level right now for the Devils that the Kings would have imagined him being at with them. He's leading the playoffs in points with 18 (seven goals and 11 assists) and is one of the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Kings fans would be ecstatic if their team won the Cup and proved to Kovalchuk that he made the wrong decision by signing in New Jersey.
However, seeing Kovalchuk win the Stanley Cup and skate it on their ice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles would be a tough sight for Kings fans to watch unfold.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.
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