Report: Sergei Gonchar, Penguins put off contract talks

From the Tribune Review:

The Penguins and defenseman Sergei Gonchar aren't close on a contract extension, and talks between general manager Ray Shero and agent JP Barry won't resume until after the season.

Barry said Sunday he met with Shero in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the Olympics, and "offers that would be acceptable to us over two different terms" were provided to the Penguins.

"Ray explained ... they are not in a position to counter at this juncture," Barry said. "We both agreed that it is again time to focus on the performance of the team. Sergei does not want his contractual status to be any kind of distraction as the team tries to defend the Cup.

"Our negotiations will thus be put on hiatus until the end of the season."

You'd have to believe the two options were a shorter term contract, like for two years, but a high salary -- perhaps close to what Gonchar currently makes in $5 million a season.  The second option probably was a longer deal, with a lower salary cap number.  However, as a 35+ player, Gonchar's contract will hit the Penguins cap for it's duration, he can't prorate it and retire, he'd have to finish out what he signs.

Obviously Ray Shero either thought the money was too much for him too fit, or he's still going to take the time he has to decide how he can fit Gonchar and give Kris Letang a new contract -- if that's even possible.

It's looking more and more likely that this may be Gonchar's last season in Pittsburgh.  As much as the two sides want to work out a deal, and as good of a fit they are for each other, the numbers just don't seem to be aligning acceptably for both sides.

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