Jul 12, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT
Zajac was so surprised when he first heard the news that he reached out to Record writer Tom Gulitti to see if the reports were true. Martin Brodeur also used the word “shocker” to describe his reaction.
“I was like, ‘What? I’m the one who should be having that news. Not him,’” Brodeur, 41, added.
Devils captain Bryce Salvador also used the word of the day, but added that “you’ve got to respect” his desire to play at home.
Brodeur took things a bit further and suggested that the lockout might have played an important role in Kovalchuk’s decision.
“When you go through what he went through with his contract and the controversy and everything and to finally settle on a number and you turn around and that number is change dramatically because of the new CBA, that might have ticked him off a lot,” Brodeur said. “And for him, if there wasn’t a lockout, he would have never tasted the KHL.”
Brodeur added that as a player, he can understand Kovalchuk’s decision, but as a man that’s invested decades into the New Jersey Devils, he’s disappointed.
“He committed himself for a long time and when you turn around a few years after and you decide to just leave everything, it’s not like we’re getting anything for him,” Brodeur said. “If anything, it’s costing us money on the cap ($250,000 per season for 12 years as the cap recapture penalty for retiring before the end of the contract).”
One other sentiment that multiple Devils shared: Replacing Kovalchuk isn’t simple. But they’re going to try and win anyways.
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 5
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 5
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 12
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 13
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 11
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 25
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 74
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 28
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 29
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 (74)