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Off of shoulder injury, Kovalchuk joins Team Russia

Apr 26, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT

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Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

It looks like New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk has no interest in resting after returning from a shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old superstar has already played in four games over six days since spending roughly a month on the sidelines. The Devils won’t make the postseason after collapsing during his absence, but Kovalchuk will keep busy by representing Team Russia in the 2013 IIHF World Championships.

“It’s always an honor when you get invited from your home country,” Kovalchuk told the Bergen Record. “That’s where I was born and raised and that’s where I get all my stuff from. They’re the reason I’m who I am right now, so when I go a chance I try to go back and try my best to play hardest for my home country and for our fans because we’ve always got great support there in Europe.

“Hockey is growing overall in Russia, especially before the Olympics in 2014. So, it will be great.”

Kovalchuk added that his Devils teammate, 22-year-old forward Andrei Loktionov, will also probably play for Team Russia.

“They talked to me about Lokti and I think they’re going to call him,” Kovalchuk explained. “I think he’s going to come too.”

Kovalchuk regards 2013 as probably the worst season of his career. Perhaps the tournament will be a morale boost for him.

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