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What they’re saying about Kovalchuk bolting for the KHL

Jul 11, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT

kovalchuk Getty Images

Few – aside from New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, perhaps – saw Ilya Kovalchuk‘s “retirement” decision coming. It’s not surprising that people reacted in dramatic ways, though.

Let’s take a look at what observers had to say about Kovalchuk leaving the Devils and NHL behind for the KHL.

It would be foolish not to start with former player and NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick, who fired up six critical Tweets up following the announcement. Here are (arguably) the two most memorable quips:

(There’s a strong chance “Again, I’m right in my analysis,” will have some legs as a Twitter meme.)

The Hockey News’ Adam Porteau makes a timely Alex Ovechkin reference.

Former writer Dave Lozo spoils a Sean Connery movie from 1990.

The National Post’s Bruce Arthur reminds us that playing in a foreign land isn’t necessarily easy, even if you’ve been in North America for years.

This won’t provide Devils fans much/any solace, but the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman notes another silver lining for the franchise.

Indeed, TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranks among the many who believe that both Kovalchuk and the Devils were mutually on board with the move. Or at least there were benefits for both sides.

Metta World Peace – aka the NBA player formerly known as Ron Artest – provided one of the best lines on Thursday:

Meanwhile, many Devils fans (and hockey fans in general) probably relate to In Lou We Trust’s simple headline: “What?”

At least, that’s likely the PG version of their reactions …

  1. chazxcore - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    It’s not so much me as it’s Roenick. He’s good.

    • blackhawksdynasty - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      Clearly not enough folks appreciate the cult classic Swingers….but I certainly do

      • chazxcore - Jul 12, 2013 at 1:37 AM

        Yeah seriously. 8 dislikes (so far). I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like that movie.

    • m1k3g - Jul 12, 2013 at 3:55 AM

      This place is dead anyways….

  2. stakex - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Jeremy Roenick’s twitter rant is pretty funny. He’s so mad you would think Kovalchuk walked out on him.

    • sabatimus - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Roenick is very very wrong with this. Generally Roenick is pretty sane with his analysis, but not this time.

  3. 19to77 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Oh, Roenick. Like Don Cherry, I’ll miss you when you go. And also like Don Cherry, it won’t be your sage wisdom that I’m missing.

  4. sportsfaninyyc - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Jeremy Roenick,- James Woods, separated at birth. He was too over-rated and over-paid to be saying anything about Kovalchuk. not even close to being in the same league so STFU.

    • tcclark - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      I agree. James Woods is horrible at hockey.

  5. bobhpine - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    I preferred the days when Jeremy Roenick was a washed up blowhard San Jose Shark instead of merely a regular washed up homeless guy

  6. buff80 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Who cares…PS Roenick is a too

    • tcclark - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      I disagree. I thought he was more of a to, possibly a two, but definitely not a too. He could be a 2 too, or a tutu, maybe even a Tootoo, but I don’t see the resemblance to Jordin. Hmmm I don’t know.

  7. kane987245 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Jeremy Roenick being………Jeremy Roenick. The humor is a never ending influx with him.

  8. 950003cups - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    I can’t believe this is happening.
    That’s back-to-back Julys that got ruined in one tweet.

    Lou!! Fix this!! I expect Steven Stamkos to be on a flight to Newark by Saturday. No excuses. I’ll be there to drive him to his new condo.

    • nj666 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM


    • Mike Williams - Jul 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      I agree with your first statemebt but the second might be the dumbest thing I have ever read, and I am a Devils fan…..

      • Mike Williams - Jul 12, 2013 at 8:51 AM


  9. njdevils1 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    If he does sign with the KHL there should be a substantial penalty paid to the Devils for stealing a player under contract and the NHL should refuse to play in the Olympics if that does not happen!

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

      Olympic Hockey is the the greatest thing in the world. I feel sorry for Devils fans, but let’s not get crazy

    • cofran2004 - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      no longer under contract. he retired. no penalty.

  10. letsgopens8771 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Everything that was said in the twitter comments was true. I don’t like JR, but he was right in his analysis. Dave Lozo had my favorite tweet. I still am not counting the Devils out. Tough team to play against, many young players, and they were only at their true worst when Marty wasn’t healthy. Screw Kovy. He’s an ass and a money chaser, and that’s all he has ever been.

  11. nj666 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    At least JR said what a majority of NHL players and fans were thinking. He will be replaced.

  12. kaptaanamerica - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Kovalchuk is still an elite talent.he’ll be lighting up the khl’s a legit league.hope he makes the hhof one day.

    • mrpinkca - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      Pat Burns isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame and all he did is irritate some writers. No way Kovalchuk gets in after embarrassing the league twice (The contract, and now the defection). Gary will personally kill anybody who attempts to vote Kovy in the Hall of Fame.

  13. mrpinkca - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Roenick is overreacting.

    Again I’m right in my analysis.

  14. ray2013 - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Well, Devil fans, if Bettman and the owners hadn’t forced a lockout, Kovalchuk never goes home to play in the KHL. Like everything else wrong in the NHL, it’s Bettman’s fault. lol.

  15. soldierone - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Funny Roenick is mad, when he did the same thing to several teams. Left for more money, then when he retires he pretends his heart and soul is with Chicago…. yeah how about the Coyotes where your fanbase grew? Oh right, they didn’t pay you enough…..

    • dueman - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Clever, but not even close to being correct. You can’t compare a player leaving a team being a free agent to a player balking on his contract after 3 years into a 15 year contract, and costing that team a 1st round draft pick, and a 12 year cap fine. Also the timing just really screwing his team. Good try though. :)

  16. chrisk61 - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    generally speaking, russian players can’t be trusted. they take the money and run. precedient was set with alexei yashin and the isles. more recently look at the bryzgalov debacle and the flyers. now the devils and kovalchuk. plus the recent russian draft choices who stay in the khl. of course there are exceptions like the red wings’ fedorov and datsyuk. but wow the russians cannot be trusted.

    • nesuperfan - Jul 12, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      I was a Soviet analyst for our government during the cold war: They were my business for 8 years. I have to agree with the statement ” Russian players can’t be trusted”, but really, it is all Russians. The things they had to do to survive the Communist rule has made them do whatever it takes to survive. It was a very hard life from most of them, and often, still is today. They will do whatever is in their best interests no matter what while Americans at least consider others when making decisions.

      • micklethepickle - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        This is the most absurd comment in the world. Only a Cold Warrior would say something like this. Meanwhile, the USA twiddles their thumbs while drones blow up weddings, funerals, union meetings, and the like. Also, maybe the reason Russians don’t trust Americans is because we invaded their country? 1921 – look it up. Nobody knows history anymore… it’s so depressing..

      • gmouser777 - Jul 12, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        mickle – Try talking to some ex-Soviets before you make statements like this. There is a large contingent of Soviet and Eastern European engineers in my business, most of whom came over on H1B visas. Every single one of them has a poisoned view of the Soviets.

        As for our invasion of 1921 (and your slam on people who don’t read up on history), it would be nice if you were accurate. The American Expeditionary Force left Siberia in 1920. Their initial mission was to recover supplies delivered to the previous government and to free Czechs who had been detained by the Bolsheviks and who were being taken to the western front to be used as fodder.

        You also ignore FDR’s efforts, along with Great Britain to prop up the Soviets by delivering massive amounts of steel and other necessary materials through Archangel and Murmansk during WWII, before the US was officially in the war. We gave blood and treasure to make sure Russia survived, and considering the fact that it was about to splinter into separate republics if the Nazis made it to Moscow, it was necessary support.

        People who lecture others on their lack of historical knowledge really need to take into consideration all of the factors. Many ex-Soviets have a great affinity for the U.S., and they come here if they get the opportunity. If you ever want to get a heated lecture, suggest to one of them that Communism might have worked in another set of circumstances.

  17. drmcsexy - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    He is getting more money and he gets to be near his family. Why anyone would be mad at him is beyond me.

    Imagine if you had a job where you couldn’t be near your family for months out of the year and in a foreign country. Now imagine you got a job offer for you to do the same thing you are doing now, but for more money in your home country and you get to be near your family. It’s a no brainere.

    • mpg44 - Jul 12, 2013 at 6:13 AM

      Those are the things he should have thought about BEFORE asking for a 15 year contract !! He failed to follow through on his commitment that asked for. That’s the douche move !

      • hockeydon10 - Jul 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        What makes you think he’s the one that insisted on a 15 year contract? He wanted X amount of dollars. The Devils attempted to get the cap hit lower than than number through some very sketchy shenanigans and got slapped for it.

  18. joey4id - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Hey! JR! Like the 49ers during the California Gold Rush many came and went from all over the world. Welcome to Americal! The land of prosperity and capitalism. :-)

  19. ironman721 - Jul 12, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Thanks Donald Fehr, when your not killing kittens, your “negotiations” ruin sports even years later. At least It looks like the Pirates have finally over come your push for “no salary cap in baseball”. It only took 2 decades. No lock-out and this guy is still in Jersey. Please go to the NBA or some other sport I don’t care about. Signed a Pens fan.

    • 2jivecrew - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      As a fellow Pens fan, that’s a stupid post. Fehr has nothing to do with this. And dropping his name proves how little attention you paid to the details of that lockout.

      Let’s not let the NHL ownership off the hook, perpetrators of three straight lockouts. They signed binding agreements with many players over the last few years and never had any intention on paying in full. They knew they would lock out the players and try and move the goalposts to renege on those deals. And Fehr is the bad guy for stopping them from doing so? Please.

      I feel bad for devs fans, but I LOVE the precedent this creates for NHL owners. And there’s nothing they can do about it until the brand new CBA expires. It’s exactly what they deserve

    • dueman - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Are you really that much of a moron? The lock out was f’n Gary’s doing you idiot! If it was Fehr’s fault it would have been a strike. Also moron, you can’t blame Fehr for your team’s owner being a douche!

      • 2jivecrew - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        Very intelligent retort. Gary certainly had his hand in it, but there was a list of owners who were the known hardliners who kept it going long past what Gary was wanting. And FYI, Mario’s name wasn’t on that list of hardliners. Care to cite your reasoning for my team’s owner being a “douche”? This oughtta be interesting.

        Try paying attention next time there’s a lockout happening. That way you’ll not come off as such an uninformed simpleton.

      • dueman - Jul 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Talk about simpleton’s…try reading the post again. Do you really think that I was talking to you moron? As my comment CLEARLY shows, I was answering ironman721! Funny though, that you criticize me for saying the same thing that you did, since Gary represents the owners meatball. If you would have paid attention to the comment that Both of us replied to, you would have realized that I was not referring to the Pens owner, but that I was referring to the Pirates owner!

        Try paying attention to the comments next time. That way you’ll not come off as such an uninformed simpleton.

  20. pastabelly - Jul 12, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    The Bruce Arthur (never heard of him) tweet above is probably the most informative of them all above. It is interesting that Russian players and not other eastern Europeans have trouble being away from home. The Swedes, Fins, and Czechs seem much less risky. Roenick is speaking as an American who doesn’t understand this dynamic. If you want to criticize the timing (after all top free agents have been signed), so be it. However, the Devils were no risk to keep Parise either. He also went “home” to Minnesota. I’d love to see the Bruins try to bring some of the local Boston players back home (funny that Roenick never had any interest in playing in Boston).

  21. modellforprez - Jul 12, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    So if Don Chumpy or cheery calls Malkin a loser. that is so funny wonder what his stupid ass thinks of Kovalchuk

  22. bullwinkle88 - Jul 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Vanek to NJ!!! I can see it coming. The cost will be Henrique + more.

  23. hockeyknowledge - Jul 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Datsyuk is one of the few Russians that did not leave for the KHL. His reason was that the NHL has the best competition level.

  24. granadafan - Jul 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Just goes to show you how much hockey is dying in N. America when top players are bailing to go to Russia.

  25. ron05342 - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Ha ha ha, leave it to MWP with the sideways humor!

    Good for him.

  26. jimeejohnson - Jul 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Hurricane Sandy scared him back to Russia. They don’t have hurricanes that far north.
    Question for Roenick: you mad, bro?

  27. blackhawks2010 - Jul 12, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Couldn’t win in the NHL? Head to KHL,they pay ridiculous money and competition is equivalent to AHL.

  28. retief1954 - Jul 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    What, the guy’s not entitled to quit his job, walk away, and go work for another company where he’d be more comfortable, just like any American? Where’s the problem here?

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