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Elias: Kovalchuk missing start of Devils camp would be a big deal

Jan 10, 2013, 7:55 PM EDT

eliaskovalchukgetty Getty Images

The potential for drama in the Ilya Kovalchuk situation continues to climb.

While every other New Jersey Devils player gave the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti a diplomatic answer regarding Kovalchuk possibly missing the beginning of training camp for the KHL All-Star Game, Patrik Elias said it’s a big deal.

“It is,” Elias said. “We’re all supposed to report on Sunday, right?”

Before you imagine Roman Hamrlik in the Washington Capitals locker room-type awkwardness, Elias does provide a caveat.

“If they gave him permission, that’s fine,” Elias said.

That’s where it gets a little funky.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello hasn’t addressed the Kovalchuk issue specifically, but Gulitti indicates that the team expects Kovalchuk to be at camp on Sunday.

As for Kovalchuk returning to New Jersey, Lamoriello said his feelings were, “No different on any of the statements I’ve made,” which is that he has “no reason” to believe Kovalchuk won’t be in New Jersey for the start of camp.

Should the Devils actually expect him to show up?

Backup goalie Johan Hedberg has been texting with Kovalchuk and provided a rather interesting perspective on why the sniper might stay in the KHL.

“I see plenty of reasons, really. I think this goes back to more a moral thing too. I don’t know if I want to go there,” Hedberg said.

(Hedberg declined to elaborate on what he meant by “moral thing,” while Gulitti guesses it’s a reference to the lockout.)

” But I hope and I think he’s going to be with us,” Hedberg said.

Considering all the talk about how much Kovalchuk wants to finish the season overseas, one wouldn’t guarantee his return, though.

  1. whatsupwithlowercase - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    I really don’t think it is a big deal for either player to miss, it isn’t like we are talking about two rookies–these are established players that know how to get ready for an NHL season. To be honest I think any player that played in another league during the lockout should be allowed to play in that league’s all-star game should they be selected (as long as it happens before the start of the NHL season). It would be a nice token of gratitude from those players to the various leagues around the world.

    • barkar942 - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      ” It would be a nice token of gratitude from those players to the various leagues around the world.”
      I say ask all of the players who lost their hockey playing jobs because of all of the “scabs”, yes I said “scabs” who took their jobs, about their gratitude to Mr. Kovy and Mr. Ovie and all of the other NHL millionaires who put them on the hockey unemployment line. I say the word they would be using isn’t gratitude.
      Gratitude is what Mr. Kovy should have for his ridiculously high paying job here in the NHL that has made him a global superstar, and his first priority should be to get back here when everyone else is to report. The Devils own his butt, and he should remember that. Also, he allowed the Devils to own his butt. He signed on the dotted line, so here should his priorities lie. However, should he decide to stay in Russia and not return on time, then he should be suspended and fined by the team.

      • whatsupwithlowercase - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        Why didn’t you bring up Pavel? Wouldn’t the exact same thing apply to him, too? I feel bad for the players around the world that lost their jobs, but are they not capable of losing their jobs EVERY season to a better player? It just so happened to be NHL players this season–if they don’t have a fallback plan at this point in their lives then they just got a good life lesson (and they are probably getting their jobs back).

        As for the Devils owning Kovalchuk, I think you are confusing slavery with gainful employment. And to propose that the NHL made Kovalchuk a global superstar is preposterous–Kovalchuk’s abilities and determination have made him a global superstar, the NHL just helped expedite the process.

        Under normal circumstances I absolutely agree, get to camp on time. However, the start of this season is anything but normal.

      • eyeh8goodell - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Drop your phony concern for the guys overseas who temporarily lost their jobs, it’s no different than any other person in any other field losing their job to somebody with better qualifications. That’s sports. The best guy gets the gig. I wonder where your concern for contracts was when the owners were trying to get out of paying what they CONTRACTUALLY agreed to pay. So, STFU.

        If Kovy wants to stay in Russia, there’s not a damn thing the NHL can do about it. And that IIHF transfer agreement is hardly an iron clad document. May

  2. 950003cups - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Two ways to look at it.

    A) You start and end the season together as a team. No single player is more important than the team. Especially one who has no rings.

    B) He’s been doing more training than anyone else there. It’s the same as GM’s putting guys in the AHL until training camp.

    Depends how you wanna see it. I hope Kovalchuk plays the game and makes it to camp (somehow) on time. I’m more of the Answer B type guy. But I can see those who feel Answer A is best

  3. 16marusr - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    He will be coming to mn so it’s all good…. GO WILD

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