Jul 12, 2013, 8:05 AM EST
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.
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 154
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 98
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 120
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 90
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 88
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (154)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (128)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (120)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (98)