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Kovalchuk wants to finish the season in the KHL

Jan 10, 2013, 1:28 PM EDT

At the very least, it appears Ilya Kovalchuk would like to stay with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL until the end of the season.

Slava Malamud of Sport-Express reports via Twitter:

Kovalchuk had said earlier he was waiting to read the NHL’s new CBA before making a decision about returning to the Devils.

The 29-year-old plans to play in Sunday’s KHL All-Star Game.

The Record’s Tom Gulitti reached out to Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, today, but has yet to hear back.

If Kovalchuk somehow ends up staying in the KHL through the end of the season, not only will the Devils find themselves without their $100 million sniper, they also lost Zach Parise to free agency this summer and are likely to start the shortened schedule without injured forward Adam Henrique.

Related: Detroit will let Datsyuk play in KHL All-Star Game

  1. broadstbully33 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Stay and New Jersey will become like nyi

  2. lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Lucky for Devil fans this is a great year to place in the top 4 of the draft but man what a tough off season for you guys, sorry to hear

    • lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      not tyring to be insulting either saying you will finish in the top 4 but it can very very likely without your two best players from last year.

      again, sorry to hear

      • martysbetter - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        It’s a sad possibility, from Cup finals to bottom of the barrel – what a bummer..

      • lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        like a poster put below my comment .. i completely forgot about NJ not having a 1st round pick this year due to the Kovy deal.

        Holy bananas, this is worst case senario for the Devils.

        No Kovy / No parise / No 1st round pick / Marty to retire soon after

        rock bottom without a pick

      • brianbobal - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        @ lordfletcher we can give up the 1st round pick either this year or next year. hopefully it wont be this year since we host the draft!

      • lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        you are correct. Whew

        As part of their 2010 punishment for their initial contract offer to winger Ilya Kovalchuk, which the NHL ruled was an attempt to circumvent the salary cap, the New Jersey Devils were docked a first-round pick. Only the league allowed the Devils to decide which year (from 2011-2014) to give up that pick, with notification due the day after the Stanley Cup Final ends.

        as a Wild fan, I would have felt terrible if my posts above were 100% accurate

  3. phillyphan93 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Awesome!! Have fun!

  4. bdawk20 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    This is a guy that, even if he played for my city, I would not like.

    • irishphilly87 - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      and hes supposed to be there next Captain….thats insane if i’m a devils fan i’d be steaming and not even want the guy.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    This is getting interesting. Devils ownership should point the finger at themselves and the league office for even giving these Russians the chance to play at home. If the lockout had been settled in September like it should’ve been then this wouldn’t be an issue.

  6. martysbetter - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    So where does this go?

    The way I look at it, if he doesn’t come back – they should be legally able to get out of the remainder of his contract, right?

    Would we even want that? He IS a top 10 scorer in the NHL after all..

    Combine this with the fact that after this season the Devils currently have their 4th line (Carter, Bernier, Gionta) as the only forwards under contract not named Ilya Kovalchuk.

    Side Note: Is the whole “non-playoff teams all get a lottery pick” going into effect this upcoming draft, or the next?

    At the very least it’d be nice to get something out of this abysmal season.

    Pray for us, NHL fans – you guys got your hockey back, looks like we won’t..

  7. murtdurt - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    When do they have to give up their first round pick? I still don’t understand why Lou didn’t give it up last year

    • martysbetter - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      I didn’t even think of this – what a mess.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Things are going from bad to worse for the Devils. I hold a serious grudge against NJ but I can’t help but feel for the fan base. I’ve been wondering myself if they have to give up their pick after this season? That would be devastating.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Can’t imagine what he was thinking, seems like the worst decision ever. Lou isn’t stupid though, to have gotten as far as he has in hockey, so perhaps he had a hope they could get away with not having to give it up (which would require knowing the lockout would happen and Kovy would go play in the KHL and potentially not want to come back so they could get some relief from the contract penalties, still not sure how it’d even work).

  8. barbarian9 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Should have thought about that before signing your name at the bottom of that ridiculously long NHL contract!

  9. shortsxit34 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    The NHL locked him out, forcing him out of work, so he went elsewhere and found a team that would let him play. He feels obligated to finish the season where he started, rather than leaving them mid-season. They gave him an opportunity to play when the NHL wouldn’t.

    I’m sure most people won’t see it this way, though. There’s about to be an avalanche of, “Stay in Russia,” posts

    • lordfletcher - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      I don’t blame him for wanting to stay in his home country at all (most do however) but I do feel incredibly bad for the fans if this happens.

      No Parise (ever)
      Lockout half the season
      No Kovy for the year
      most likely end up being a top 5 pick, no 1st round pick
      Marty to retire after this mess


    • nykingfan - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      with all due respect:
      There’s no difference between himself and guys like Ovechkin, Malkin, etc…they were all in the same boat but as soon as the lockout ended, they knew where they had to be. They all are under long term NHL contracts.
      “Obligation”? This has absolutely nothing to do with obligation or loyalty. He’s always been a mercinary going after the highest buck. Now all of a sudden he’s bound by loyalty or obligation? Fat chance. He went to the Devils only because there wasn’t another penny that he could extract from another organization.
      If he feels so obligated to stay, I’m sure the Devils would be thrilled to relieve themselves of that onerous contract. I somehow doubt he’d be ok with that.
      The guy showed his true colors last year when he was invisible in the cup finals against the Kings. What was that “injury” the announcers kept talking about that he must have had because he was so bad?

      • brianbobal - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        he had back surgery in the offseason… so yes he showed his true colors when he led the playoffs in scoring while playing with a herniated disk for 3 rounds.

      • nykingfan - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        Kovi had back surgery after the cup?
        So did Jonathan Quick. who performed and who didn’t?

  10. jaredphi - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    If Kovalchuk stays, this will work out well for the rest of us in the Atlantic Div.

    So….please stay put, Ilya.

  11. thecheeman - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Everybody let me tell you the way it is.

    The Devils were given the option of losing their first round pick in any of the first four years after that ruling. In 2011 they took Adam Larsson, In 2012 they took Stefan Matteau. They could draft a first round pick for one more year before being forced to give up a pick in 2014, and maybe that punishment could even be waived over time so who knows?

    The Devils host the draft this year I would think they use the pick regardless.

  12. thecheeman - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Here a little research never killed anyone:

  13. 950003cups - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    No chance Kovy wants to really stay there. The Devils have a strange way of doing things. Lou would’t object to Kovy belittling the NHL. Lou was banned from participating in the CBA talks because of the Kovy contract.

    Malkin, Ovechkin, Datsyuk are all there. So you’re saying that ONLY Kovy is he one they want? Every NHLer who ever skated in Russia came running back with horrible things to say. Ask Jagr how enticing it is to play in Russia. Kovy won’t sign a deal with his talent in a league that’s 4 years old. No way, never. It’s all talk. Who knows, maybe Kovy is getting paid to say this? We know Lou Lamoriello could care less about what kovy says about the NHL owners. Lou got screwed from the same people.

    Enough talk. Time to come back, and win that cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. 950003cups - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    “I want to stay in St. Petersburg but I have contractual obligations in the NHL, which will be hard to break” – Kovalchuk to Sport-Express

    TRANSLATION = I would love to go out with you for dinner, but I’m sort of seeing someone and it wouldn’t be right.

    How many times have we said/heard that line?

  15. 89seminole - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Your one player, stay there! It’s not like he’s Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, or Neal. He would not be missed.

  16. Jaja.. - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Nobody heard a word about Bobrovsky ?

    Is he trying to stay or will he report to Columbus

  17. dkphilly1122 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Kovalchuk is no where near a top 10 scorer in the league ……..maybe the Playoffs last year, like Briere is money in the playoffs, but definitely not a top 10 scorer, player, whatever in the NHL. Maybe that is why he wants to stay in Russia, he knows he will have all the pressure on him in Jersey, and he is one of the best players……in the KHL and not in the NHL where it matters. He got his nice big stupid contract and now doesn’t wanna honor it. Stay in the KHL, no one cares regardless of what you do.

    • martysbetter - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Comparing Briere’s scoring prowess to Ilya Kovalchuk is an absolute joke – Kovy has been amongst the top 10 overall points leaders in the NHL for the majority of his career and was 5th overall last season.

  18. cspsrbums - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Stories out of Washington is that Putin offered Ovi,Malkin,Koby,and others20 Milton stay and play in Russia. So far he is the only one staying.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      I’m guessing that invitation wasn’t extended to Bryzgalov.

  19. stakex - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    I always love to see things go bad for the Devils, but this is a bridge too far. People can hate Kovalchuk all they want but he really is the best players the Devils have going into this year. If he stays in Russia, the Devils are screwed…. and thats not right at all.

  20. dkphilly1122 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Kovalchuk is a joke. He is on the decline, his best years are slowly fading. I compared Briere’s PLAYOFF numbers to Kovalchuk’s numbers in the PLAYOFFS. So at least read what I typed correctly. Briere is a beast in the playoffs, if you doubt that look his numbers up it’s right there. That was the point. Briere doesn’t really show up until the Playoffs. Kovalchuk won’t be top 10 this year……guaranteed, if he even comes back to the NHL this year. He won’t have Parise setting him up so he will get exposed for what he is. Hopefully he stays in the KHL, they deserve to have him and NJ deserves to get out of that horrible contract if he voids it by staying there. That or if he stays there amnesty his contract next year and send him back to the KHL for good.

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