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Kovalchuk taking time on decision to return to Devils

Apr 27, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

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kovalchuk.jpgBefore Jacques Lemaire ‘retired’ from coaching, I was a bit skeptical
on the prospects of Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the New Jersey Devils
next season. The system is place was stifling the offense of the team
and Kovalchuk, while brought in to provide an offensive spark in the
playoffs, was far from productive when the team needed him most.

Now
that a new coach will be in place next season, I’m not so sure. The
Devils certainly have a great nucleus of players to continue to build
around, especially on offense. Per
Tom Gulutti of NorthJersey.com
, Kovalchuk is noncommittal at this
point.

“Right now I can’t tell you anything because I just want to stay away
from the game a little bit and spend some time with my family and
regroup,” he said. “I’ve still got time to think.”

Kovalchuk’s agent and the team have yet to start contract
negotiations, and it’s likely there won’t be anytime soon. I’m sure just
one day after the Lemaire news is not exactly time enough for Kovalchuk
to change his mind on returning, and I’m certain that the finances
involved are going to be playing a much bigger part in negotiations than
whether Lemaire was returning or not.

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