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Devils getting their money’s worth out of Ilya Kovalchuk

Oct 20, 2011, 8:08 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

Ilya Kovalchuk is being paid to play hockey like a superstar in the league should. Signing a 15-year, $100 million deal will get you put on the ice at all times to help the team win. In Kovalchuk’s case, it gets him put on the ice no matter what is going on for the Devils.

Kovalchuk has been averaging just over 27 minutes of ice time so far this season, a crazy amount for a forward. While many players would see their game suffer playing so much, Kovalchuk is feeding off of it. The Devils are 3-1-0 so far and Kovalchuk has two goals and two assists to lead the team.

DeBoer explains to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice what’s up with all the ice time.

“I got a few calls from friends around the league wanting to know if I was going to burn him out by Christmas,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer admitted today. “But he’s got a big engine and he seems to thrive on the responsibility.”

So far so good, right?

Seeing this much ice time is a throwback to his Atlanta days and… Well, that actually worked OK. Rock on then. If playing this much means that both he and Zach Parise can make a run at 40 goals, the Devils will do that everyday of the week.

  1. danphipps01 - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    So many players crucified for their performances last year have responded. Kovalchuk, Kessel, James Neal anyone? It’s fantastic. I love seeing these guys wipe the smirks off everyone’s faces.

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