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.
- Gillis pleads his case: ‘We are enduring a challenging period’ 11
- Nolan gets a game for punching ‘unsuspecting’ Joensuu 20
- It doesn’t sound like 3-on-3 overtime is going to be a thing 31
- Blues finish night on top of NHL standings after shootout win 15
- Kings’ Nolan gets double-minor for punching Oilers’ Joensuu 54
- Extended overtime likely to be on agenda in GMs’ March meeting 41
- Lundqvist shuts out Red Wings to claim 300th victory 11
- NHL on NBCSN: Hawks know they can’t take Sabres lightly 11
- NHL on NBC: Red Wings, Rangers fight to cling onto playoff spots 2
- Video: Flames score center-ice goal against Canucks’ Lack 19
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (68)