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Kovalchuk: “We’ll be better next year”

Jun 12, 2012, 12:04 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t have a highlight-reel filling Stanley Cup finals. He scored just one goal, an empty-net tally in Game 4, and his Devils went down in six games to the Los Angeles Kings in his first real shot at winning it all.

Kovalchuk would have every reason to be sad and upset but instead he’s hopeful for the future as he tells Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger.

“All year long we showed a lot of character,” Ilya Kovalchuk said. “We played well on the road. We never gave up. We made it interesting, but it wasn’t enough.

“Like I said, those losses have to make us stronger. There was a lot of positive stuff. We’ll be better next year.”

Whether or not the Devils will actually be better next year is hard to bank on. They’ll return a lot of the same team, including Martin Brodeur (link), so that’s a good start. One guy they may be without though is Zach Parise as he’s an impending unrestricted free agent on July 1.

If Parise signs elsewhere, the Devils will have a very hard time replacing his skills. The Devils will need a lot more of the strong team play to make it happen. The only thing we know for sure is to never count the Devils out. Right when you think they’ll go away, they always find a way to surprise.

  1. mclovinhockey - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    They need more luck

  2. dsd3 - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Sure, mention his bad performance, but don’t mention he played on a herniated disc for the entire playoffs. That’s fair.

  3. martysbetter - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    A man can only play so many hockey games with a herniated disc.

    Let us not forget the times Kovy came through in these playoffs to get the Devils to the Finals, he has nothing to be ashamed of.

    • mrhojorisin - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Totally agree. He was injured in the playoffs, especially in the Finals, and he was fantastic all season long, so no need to disparage him now.

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