Apr 26, 2013, 12:08 AM EST
New Jersey Devils superstar Ilya Kovalchuk never won a single NHL playoff game until he was traded away from what was then the Atlanta Thrashers. Surely he endured some bad times in those days, but even so, the Russian star told the Bergen Record that 2013 represents rock bottom.
“I think overall with the injuries and everything this was probably my worst season of my career,” Kovalchuk said. “It’s not easy and now with a lot of guys going to be unrestricted free agents, I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. We just can wait and see.”
If nothing else, it might be the 30-year-old’s most turbulent campaign.
The season began with a mild amount of controversy as it seemed like there was an issue with him staying overseas to play in the KHL All-Star Game. While that blew over and Kovalchuk remained as vital as ever for New Jersey, the Devils really saw how essential he is when they only one won game during his 11-game absence due to a shoulder injury.
Sure, missing the playoffs after a surprise run to the 2012 Stanley Cup finals has to hurt, but sitting out games isn’t something the star winger is used to. Even during the worst of times in Atlanta, he’s never missed more than three games in a full season until 2013.
So, considering the uncertain future Kovalchuk discussed, maybe it’s good for morale to put together a few wins even if the season’s a lost cause.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:41 AM EST
Vancouver is getting in the thick of things.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:00 AM EST
The Ducks are 11-0-2 in Anaheim this season.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:25 AM EST
He could miss more time, too.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:22 PM EST
No timeline yet for his return from various ailments.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:51 PM EST
Ottawa wins shootout by slim margin.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:21 PM EST
They’ve won six straight games at home.
Dec 9, 2013, 9:56 PM EST
There’s a chance Zbynek Michalek could be back, though.
Dec 9, 2013, 9:27 PM EST
First bout for Couturier, fourth for Turris.
Dec 9, 2013, 8:55 PM EST
Quite a way to end Columbus’ 162-minute shutout streak.
Dec 9, 2013, 8:42 PM EST
NHL’s Board of Governors ratified the Canadian TV deal.
Dec 9, 2013, 7:35 PM EST
“Well that’s just super,” the Blue Jackets probably didn’t say.
Dec 9, 2013, 7:31 PM EST
“There are other ways to respond.”
Dec 9, 2013, 6:53 PM EST
Adding some toughness.
Dec 9, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
Red Wings actually fared well in his absence.
Dec 9, 2013, 5:15 PM EST
Jon Cooper knows it could be a lot worse.
Dec 9, 2013, 4:25 PM EST
“We’re pretty frustrated,” said Ryan McDonagh.
Dec 9, 2013, 3:55 PM EST
Anaheim’s coming off two impressive wins over the ‘Hawks and Blues.
Dec 9, 2013, 3:17 PM EST
Tough times in the Chicago goal.
Dec 9, 2013, 2:45 PM EST
All the latest from the blue paint…
Dec 9, 2013, 2:44 PM EST
They’re in Anaheim to play the Ducks tonight.
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 154
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 98
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 120
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 90
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 88
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (154)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (128)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (120)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (98)