Skip to content

Former Devils coach: Teammates won’t hold grudge against Kovalchuk

Jan 11, 2013, 8:30 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

Ilya Kovalchuk has made headlines lately by expressing his desire to finish the season in the KHL despite his contractual obligations with the New Jersey Devils.

In the end, he will rejoin the New Jersey Devils, but only after participating in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday. Consequently, he’ll miss the start of the Devils’ training camp.

Patrik Elias took exception to that, but in the long run, former New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire doesn’t think it will be a big deal.

“Guys don’t care about that. Maybe in the beginning when they hear what he says they have some comments, but that is forgotten quickly,” Lemaire told The Star-Ledger. “You have to forgive and forget. I don’t think the other guys will care about any of this.”

Lemaire thinks that Kovalchuk’s actions show his appreciation to the KHL and his lockout team, St. Petersburg SKA, rather than suggest that he is less than happy with the New Jersey Devils.

New Jersey Devils forwards David Clarkson and Travis Zajac echoed Lemaire’s remarks.

“He’s one of those guys that everyone in the room loves. He’s a leader,” Clarkson said.

Kovalchuk has also been a leader in the KHL with 42 points in 36 games while serving as St. Petersburg’s captain.

Latest Posts
  1. After 12-game absence, Prust back for Habs

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT

    Brandon Prust Getty Images

    He’ll dress for the series opener against Tampa Bay tonight.

  2. Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery deflects the puck over his head during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek) AP

    Steve Mason is “out.”

  3. Get your game notes: Jackets at Penguins

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Penguins Blue Jackets Hockey AP

    Pittsburgh won all five meetings between the teams during the regular season.

  4. Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Sidney Crosby, Zdeno Chara AP

    Prove us wrong, all 16 teams. Prove…us…wrong.

  5. Lightning’s Filppula, Palat expected to return for Game 1

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula

    Tampa Bay’s top-six would have been in trouble without them.

  6. Fleury’s true comeback bid starts tonight

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury Marc-Andre Fleury

    His solid regular season will be overshadowed by whatever he does in the playoffs.

  7. 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks

    Apr 16, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    StanleyCupPlayoffs14

    Add yours in the comments section.

  8. Report: Duchene to miss at least first two games of Avalanche-Wild series

    Apr 15, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    “It puts a lot more pressure on everybody else,” says Nathan MacKinnon.

  9. Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT

    NHL2014Draft

    After losing the No. 1 pick to Colorado last year.

Featured video

Are Penguins vulnerable vs. Columbus?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4469)
  2. T. Oshie (3217)
  3. M. Brodeur (3107)
  4. M. Duchene (3060)
  5. D. Backes (3002)