Jul 11, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
In a run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the New Jersey Devils boasted a one-two punch of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, a combination that was especially frightening on an Adam Oates-designed power play. One summer later, all three of those figures are gone.
Kovalchuk’s former running mate and assistant coach seemed as surprised as anyone else upon hearing about the 30-year-old’s decision to retire from the NHL on Thursday.
Parise, 28, told Next Sports Star’s Josh Rimer that he was under the impression that the Russian winger enjoyed playing in New Jersey.
“I was pretty shocked when I found out. It always seemed to me that he really liked playing in New Jersey,” Parise said. “It’s too bad, the Devils are losing a great player.”
Oates essentially said to the Washington Post that Kovalchuk is taking his talents back to Russia.
“He’s a superstar, it’s kind of like when LeBron left Cleveland. It reversed two franchises that fast, it’s a different sport, so it’s not quite accurate,” Oates said. “Lou Lamoriello is the type of man, he’s dealt with adversity before. He’ll get through it no question, but still it’s arguably their best player they’re missing right now.”
He also thinks Kovalchuk’s departure is a lose for the league as a whole.
“It’s sad. He’s a marquee name in our league and a great player,” Oates said. “I obviously had a chance to coach him for a couple years, really liked him. It’s sad for the league, it’s one of our good players.”
Now he might just be the KHL’s best.
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 17
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 22
- Trotz doesn’t see a ‘big, sexy, difference-maker guy’ on the market 15
- What’s up with the reports of problems in the Blackhawks’ room? 40
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight 74
- Lombardi happy to get ‘one of the better defenseman on the market’ in Sekera 3
- NHL on NBCSN: Wild need two points from NHL-leading Preds 20
- Video: Potential No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid goes end-to-end, top shelf 9
- Video: Penguins hold on to beat Capitals for first time this season 28
- Video: Fight erupts between Penguins and Capitals inside Pittsburgh’s bench 40
- Leafs’ Rielly apologizes for insensitive remarks (86)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (75)
- Chiarelli understands scrutiny on GM and coach, but says, ‘It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year’ (69)
- ‘I don’t know why we’re so comfortable,’ says Toews after loss to Avalanche (69)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (65)