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Parise is ‘shocked’ Kovalchuk left New Jersey

Jul 11, 2013, 6:38 PM EDT

kovalchukandparisegetty Getty Images

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.

  1. 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    .

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      Hold on. I agree that this was a selfish move and he is going to get paid a lot of money over in Russia.

      BUT….

      1.) He spent more than half his life in Russia while growing up.
      2.) He is obviously more confortable in that culture
      3.) They will treat him AND his family like royalty.

      Soooooo:

      1.) He probably did miss Russia
      2.) It is a great place to raise HIS family
      3.) Every other Russain hockey player isn’t Kovalchuk

      The money is a factor but it’s not the only factor.

      • martysbetter - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        He should have considered all of that before signing a 15 year $100 million contract.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        Absolutely!

        I’m not justifying his decision or supporting his character but it wasn’t just about money.

        There is some reality in the fact that if you put Kovy in Chicago he might not have left. I know New Jersey fans don’t want to hear that and I feel for them because it’s the tip of a bigger bad situtation. But denying that reality is naive.

      • martysbetter - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        How can you make that argument?

        This team is has (one of) the most consistent track record of success in the league, is just over a year removed from the Finals, and just acquired a goalie that should (in theory) keep the franchise relevant for the forseeable future.

        This is about a man who made a commitment, and decided not to honor that commitment, plain and simple – everything else is rather irrelevant, it reflects poorly on his character (not that it really matters).

        Regardless of the circumstances, he dug a franchise (who bent over backwards to lock him up for the remainder of his career) into a gigantic hole and skipped town without a second thought.

        It’s a dick move no matter how you cut it.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        Marty,

        It’s a jerk move no doubt about it.

        BUT,

        1.) Your best player in those stanley cup finals left for the Wild.
        2.) Elias isn’t getting any younger
        3.) The goaltender move they made COULD keep the Devils relevant but that’s no guarentee because finding a franchise goalie is not a given…..just ask the Flyers
        3.) The Devils franchise is STILL a financial question mark.
        4.) You play a style of hockey that any offensive mined forward would get tired of if the the team isn’t winning

        I agree that “This is about a man who made a commitment, and decided not to honor that commitment”

        But, it’s based on a bunch of other factors.

        So, my question to you is: How can you make the statement “everything else is irrelevant”?…. because it’s not.

      • martysbetter - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:40 PM

        1) No, our best player from the Stanley Cup Finals just left for the KHL today. (I’m guessing I watch the Devils more than you do, because you wouldn’t be saying ZP was our best player in the playoffs that year if that wasn’t true)

        2) Elias is still productive and as he gets older, players like Henrique develop.

        3) Cory Schneider was the apple of every franchise-goalie-less team in the league for a reason, and more importantly answers the “life after marty” question.

        4) They spent to the cap this offseason, I trust that as an indicator of the financial state of the franchise far more than the NY Post.

        5) That style of play afforded him 38 goals and 83 pts total in 11/12.

        No team is guaranteed success in this league (ask Pens fans), but certain teams are better at putting themselves in the position to gain success than others, the Devils are one of those teams.

        He had the liberty of signing with ANY team in the NHL OR the KHL in 2010, he knew the situation he was getting into – there is no excuse, he’s a prick.

      • mpg44 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        A contract is a contract. Not to mention that he WANTED the 15 year contract. The points you are making are the things kovy should have thought long and hard about before asking for such a long contract!!

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        I.) Ok, ZP had 4 less assists. It deosn’t reduce the impact he had or the effect his departure had.

        2.) Elias still being productive doesn’t erase the reality that the end is near for him.

        3.) Cory Schneider being a coveted goaltender doesn’t make him the next best goalie after Marty.

        4.) You honestly believe spending large amounts of money suggests financial solvency? What trends in sports or AMERICAN SOCIETY IN GENERAL over the last 30 years give you ANY reason to believe that.

        5.) Kovy is capable to putting up 80 points by farting pucks towards opposing goalies. You’re system did nothing to aid him in that.

        He saw the money, length of the contract and signed. He was naive and a prick (agreed) and left when he realized the reality of the situation and what he could have in Russa.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      I am from Minnesota, and its terrible for the Devils
      I was listening to the Toronto podcast with a interview last week with Brodeur and he said that with Schneider as backup this will probably prolong his career.
      What problems would that cause with Schneider??? I doubt if he is going to like that situation in NJ not being a number one goalie…

  2. 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    This one really is a douche move!
    He didn’t give a rats ass about the fans and the team who gave up everything to sign him

    He’s not doing this for anything but money. It’s not that he missed Russia so much.

    BULL SHlT!! USA is much better!

    If Russia was so great to raise a family, then why are there boat loads of them coming here every week.

    You don’t see people stowed away in shipping containers, or swimming with rafts, or paying life savings fora visa to live in Russia!!!!

    It’s all about the money. Don’t let his B.S words get in to your head.

    • blueballzny - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      How ignorant you are!!! I don’t believe I have ever seen a Russian coming to the U.S. on a raft. Its his life and he’s allowed to do what makes him happy. Maybe he informed the Devils of his desire to leave a few months ago. You ever think of that? Saying that Russians are hiding in containers to come here makes you look like a complete jackass!

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        blueballzny

        Hey stupid! I said “people” but you PC morons cant read anyway. I was talking about everyone. The rafts can be attributed to people leaving Mexico or Cuba. Both a short ride away.

        Acting PC doesn’t make you smart. Being yourself doesm

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        blueballzny

        Try reading what was typed.
        People like you make dogs look intelligent.

        Fans like you don’t know the difference between a blueline and a clothesline

      • lordfletcher - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        After hearing the news, all I could think about was how much will 950003cups be crying on PHT.

        Did not disappoint, thanks!!! HAHA

    • elrock7 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Not about the money, he has a huge contract. Maybe its just about playing for a team that cant keep their top players year after year after year…. He finally said ENOUGH!

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        He’s been here 2 1/2 years. And HE IS our best player (or was)

    • bowltr - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Dude he’s from Russia so he’s going home. What’s wrong with that? And how is blueballz being PC?
      It’s true you don’t see Russians coming here in a raft or Mexicans as a matter of fact.
      Kov probably got a whiff of your alcohol induced attitude at game once and decided he didn’t want to play for morons with an iq lower than the ice temperature.

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:54 PM

        naaa, it was your mom. She gave him herpes

    • pxland - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      Wow. Do you really think your personal politics really belong in this discussion?

    • hockeyflow33 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      I’m curious if you complained about any of the players who were bought out? You must have been angry at the owners for not living up to their end of a contract right?

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        Who cares about the owners? What Kovy did was basically say America sucks, and I don’t want my family to be raised here. He specifically mentioned he wants his family to be there.

        So I say to Mr Kovalchuk, farewell, and don’t come calling the NHL when you have a bad year and the police suddenly find drugs in your car and arrest you thus voiding your contract. That’s how they voided John Grahame’s KHL contract.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        Yes but Grahame was American and had several alcohol-related injuries when he was playing here so it wasn’t far-fetched that they were fed up with his drinking.
        Kovy is Russian and from there, why would you be offended that he wants to raise his family where he was born?

    • biffnasty - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      @gave9500000bj’s……you are an idiot

  3. pirovash88 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    I think everyone is shocked. This money could’ve been used towards signing Parise to an extension, not saying he would’ve stayed since he has family in Minnesota, but i’m sure it could’ve been a possibility.. I’m just glad we didn’t sign em in L.A.

  4. rushledger - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Parise is shocked someone else left New Jersey? Maybe he’s shocked about him walking away from the money, but leaving jersey… He’s not one to talk.

    • kane987245 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      As much as i hated to see him go, everything was coming together for him in MINN. He was getting married that summer in MINN, went to college there, had a home there, his entire family was living there and most importantly Minn had the money to afford him. Even if the whole Kovy situation did not occur or was a problem and NJD made an offer, my gut feeling is he would have chosen his family.

      Yes, he wanted to play with Suter as well since they were best friends, however, that was just a bonus for him since MINN was able to play their cards correctly and get aligned. Had MINN not been able to afford him and the NJD situation had been better, he probably would have stayed. Leaving for your family and spending your entire career home with them with financial security? Most players would take that in a heart beat.

    • ray2013 - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      I’m right with you. ZP is as much a mercenary as Kovy. Take the money. And if you can rationalize it later as a “family move” then that’s even better.

      I don’t have a problem with players being mercenaries. Teams will throw away players when it suits their interest (like Grabovski), so players have to look out for themselves and their families.

  5. ashtongronholz8 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    There’s a huge difference between getting signed to a different team and leaving in the middle of a contract no need to be but hurt still over parise leaving

    • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      oh yes, that’s 1000% true

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        Parise left as a FA.

        Kovalchuk left his contractual obligations knowing full well what the team suffered in order to get him. Also knowing what the team did to keep itself improving. That’s pathetic, he’s pathetic, and the 5 year old KHL is even MORE pathetic.

        We should all start having great russian players in the KHL “retire” and come over to the NHL

        Oh wait! That’s right, I almost forgot. They can’t do that. They’ll be shot in the street along with their friends and family.

        HAVE FUN KOVY!!

      • bowltr - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        So it was OK when the Devils cheated the salary cap to sign him but now he leaves and you’re concerned about him going to the KHL?
        I’ll tell you what’s pathetic 95000………..you are. Just read what you wrote you hate filled monger.

      • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        A little thin skinned I see?
        Go back over to Golf Talk Central

  6. rebekah319 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    These are 2 totally different situations that have nothing to do with each other. Kovalchuk back out of his long term deal after signing it first of all which was a bad idea to begin with. He takes full blame for even signing his name to the dotted line knowing he was not going to play it out.
    Now it has been a year since Parise left and I know all you Devil fans did not take it well at all and are even still bitter but he did not just ditch you… he made his own personal choice one that has now made him happy. Forget about the money and term and just think about the person for a change- one that just wanted to be around his family and play at home. Players do not always get the chance to do that and plus I think Devil fans should be appreciate everything that he did there and cherish the memories because those are the things as fans you do not get back. Just saying its time to let it go and move on. I feel bad that Kovalchuk did that and just back out of what he agreed too. I have no words and you ( Devil fans have every right to be mad and sad about what he just did.)

    • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      We lost next years 1st round draft pick too.

    • kane987245 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Dude, i think im one of the few Dev fans that wished him the best when he left. He chose his family and he even said if he didnt have to choose between his family and the DEVS he would have stayed. He left for all the RIGHT reasons. I still love the guy and still wish him well in MINN. You cant hate a guy for choosing his family when he has the opportunity to do it.

      The way Kovy did it was just completely wrong.

  7. modellforprez - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    whos he to talk. he left them too. for Big $ within the same league

    • stakex - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Well yeah, but he left through free agency…. not walking away in the middle of a massive contract.

      One thing I just can’t understand is why fans expect players to have the same passion for a team as they do. NHL players (and other pro athletes) are professionals and they play hockey for a living. Its their job, and picking where to play is a business/personal decision most of the time just like it is when you decide to leave one job for another one. Did Parise leave NJ for the money? Probably. If you had a chance to make more money doing the same thing you are now, would you not jump at that chance?

  8. hockeyfan28 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Possible Ilya looked at the devils roster and looked at the rest of the division and thought man were finishing last and thought at 30 he didn’t want to be part of another rebuilding project

  9. elrock7 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    The fact is Devils do a great job of drafting and developing talent. They trade for Kovy, then within a couple of years, everyone leaves.

    Cant blame Kovy, he is tired of yearly rebuilding. There must be a reason why most of there best players always seem to be leaving.

    • 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      I would love to know that myself.

      It’s not NJ. They all live a stone throw away from NYC and the Rangers don’t have players leaving. The Flyers almost all live in NJ too, and they don’t bail out either.

      What gives? Everyone likes Lou Lamoriello. He had the right to stop Kovy from going over, but didnt.

      Can’t be the owner. All teams have jack ass owners.

      Can’t be the financial situation. Many teams are also in financial jams all the time.

      What is it??>?>?>

      • hockeyfan28 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        That’s very true the flyers practice rink is in Voorhees and most of the team lives in Camden or Burlington county

      • biffnasty - Jul 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

        Its people like you, @gave950000003bjs, that factored into his decision to leave.

    • kcbruinsfan - Jul 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Who is “everybody?” Only key players I can think of that have left since the arrival of Kovy and his ridiculous contract are Parise and Clarkson. I think there is a lot to be said for buyers remorse and the wish that NJ had never traded for Kovy in the first place, but don’t see where one can talk of all this “constant rebuilding” proving wearisome for him.

      2010-2011 was his first full season and it was a total disaster. John MacLean was fired mid-season, Parise missed pretty much the entire season and the team was injury riddled. Kovy struggled until Lemaire came along and righted the ship. Despite the poor season, don’t recall a flurry of defections in the off-season.

      2011-2012 the Devils went to the SCF and were 2 wins away from the Cup. Kovy had a great year and playoff, playing with back issues that limited his effectiveness late, but the team was less effective without him. Parise left in the offseason to return to MN. To state with certainty that if Kovy had not been in NJ and they had more cap space that Parise would have stayed in NJ is silly. No one can be certain exactly what might have happened. Maybe they could have paid him enough to stay, or almost as likely, perhaps no amount of money was going to get him to stay. We can never know what might have happened, but his loss is the only key defection from the Devils since the arrival of Kovy, and probably the most devastating. Can’t say Kovy’s presence and contract is the cause of Parise’s loss though.

      2013 was another difficult year. Shortened season and first without Parise. Kovy missed significant playing time w/ injury and in his and Brodeur’s absence the team struggled significantly and again missed the playoffs. Outside of Kovy’s surprising retirement, only loss is Clarkson. Don’t think his loss is a result of Kovy’s contract and cap hit, but more a function of the Devils not be willing to overpay for him. Good player and loved what he brought, but he isn’t worth what the Leafs are paying for him in terms of salary and term.

      Please tell me who else I’m missing as far as defections from the team. Who else have they been losing. To be honest until this retirement I though NJ was shaping up nicely w/ their offseason moves to be a solid team. Additions of Ryder and Clowe added size and scoring to the team and added good forward depth to a team that featured Kovy, Elias, Henrique, Zajac, ZubrusRyder, and Clowe plus a 4th line of Gionta, Bernier, and Carter. Not a weak line up at all. Pretty solid up front with same D returning. Bolstering the goaltending at the draft made the team look pretty solid. This move creates a huge scoring hole for the Devils in the short term.

      Long term it frees them from that ridiculous contract. Biggest regret is probably the loss of the draft picks they gave up to get him and the one they’ll have to sacrifice this year as part of the league mandated penalty. Still think they got hosed on that, as they certainly aren’t the only franchise to try to circumvent the CBA through creative contracts. Still the only one penalized for it though. Loss of those 1st rounders has created the void in the prospect pool they currently are experiencing, and this years was looking like a late pick with trhe depth the team had is now looking more like a mid-first rounder. Still see the team as being a respectable team, but not as dangerous as it would have been w/ Kovy playing.

  10. jessejames182 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Everyone is going to hear a lot of unreasonable things coming from Devils fans,and I’m one of them. This is such a horrible gut punch, it just doesn’t make any sense that after making a cup run that superstars would just run from the team like that. The Devils are a quality franchise and everyone knows it, the team has produced three cups, Hall of Famers, and oh yeah, the Greatest Goalie to play the game. If Kovy is gonna run back to Russia to be a Eastern European Lebron that’s fine, just do it early enough so Lou could’ve done something about it. But I think the Devils will grind it out, Henrique is a superstar in training and so is Larson, and the Devils don’t quit.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      I think Lou is a solid enough GM that he has contingency plans for these types of things. The Devils are a great franchise and have a knack for always putting together a solid team.

  11. 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Lordfletcher

    I’m not even 1/10 done. Sit tight and enjoy. I’m gonna go until morning.

    • credible316 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      I wish you could see the grin on my face cupsie!

    • lordfletcher - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      I feel bad for ya but man, take a deep breath.

      Other fans / other cities have had it much worse… its not like you lost the North Stars or something :)

  12. thejrod2006 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Honestly, I blame Lou.

    No….not for Kovy deciding to leave for presumably more money. I blame Lou for….

    -the team having below average drafts for the last 10 years, drying up the forward prospects in the system
    -making little to no effort to either lock up Parise and Clarkson before they hit UFA, or trade them for ANYTHING instead of letting them walk for NOTHING
    -inexplicably not giving up the first round pick last year when it was the 29th overall pick. That was a bad call then that looks 100 times worse now
    -trading your first rounder this year when you knew Kovy liked playing in Russia when he played there in a lockout FOR A GOALIE. Yes, Schneider addresses a long term need for the Devils (assuming he doesn’t bail in 2 years the first chance he gets), but they could have used that pick and other pieces to get Bobby Ryan or Tyler Seguin. Or draft a forward.

    Let’s be honest….Lou put all of his eggs in the Kovalchuk basket and Kovy stomped on them and kicked the egg shells on his way back to Russia.

    • kane987245 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      Yes, solving your goalie situation this season by getting Schneider was horrific in every sense. Gold star for you.

      • kane987245 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        also, what “Pieces ” are you talking about anyways? Who exactly would be trade away to get these players in the first place? I’m very curious.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Didn’t even think about them not having their first round pick next year.

      Ouch

  13. pastabelly - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Praise went home and Kovalchuk is doing the same. Hard to believe nobody wants to play in Newark.

  14. fuggles42 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    It’s pretty obvious why he left. He was pissed that EA rigged the cover vote to put the Devils has been goalie on over his more deserving countryman Datsyuk. Consider this his payback.

  15. ray2013 - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    I was shocked initially, but after hearing some of the math, it does make sense from a financial POV. From what I read, in NJ he’d make $11 million and pay 45% in taxes. In Russia he was going to make $20 million and pay 13% taxes. That means he’d make $6 million and change after taxes staying in NJ. Playing in Russia, he would make $17.4 million after taxes.

    Would anyone here really turn down a chance to nearly triple their annual salary and be closer to home?

  16. denterre605 - Jul 12, 2013 at 6:04 AM

    When the lockout ended last year Kovalchuk wanted to stay in St. Petersburg. He is from there and his family loved it there. I was following his progress through that KHL season and it looked to me that he was idolized by the fans as a true national hero. He was scoring on the larger rink at a phenominal pace and his team was the best in the league. He became the face of the KHL who wants to compete as the best hockey league in the world. The league has now thrown down the gauntlet at the NHL and will probably compete for the best European players available beginning now. Have little doubt that Ovechkin may follow in the near future as well as other Europeans. The KHL has more than enough money to compete. This probably doesn’t happen if not for the lockout. It gave players a chance to experience the KHL and I’m sure more will eventually take that money. This is not just a Devils problem..this is an NHL nightmare. Lou will quickly find a way to make the Devils competitive. Hockey is a team sport dependent upon systems and role players not just superstars. Ask Pittsburgh how well last season went with a team full of superstars. New Jersey always finds a way to compete at a high level with the players available to them. When you least expect them to win they find a way to do it. In the long run this will be a blessing in disguise to them.

  17. 2qswing - Jul 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Don’t Sweeds, Slovaks, Fins, Germans, Czecks, miss their homeland, families? Why is it only the Russians who skrew their nhl team time and time again.

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