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Columnist says lockout prompted Kovalchuk’s departure

Jul 14, 2013, 7:58 PM EDT

ilyakovalchukgetty Getty Images

Some, like Don Cherry, point to greed. Others believe that it’s all too easy to ignore family and the comforts of home when we consider a hockey player’s motives. There are also people who believe that the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk reached a mutually beneficial decision when he opted to bolt for the KHL.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks blames a different factor to explain why the 30-year-old won’t suit up in Newark any longer: the lockout.

But it was this latest lockout that unlocked the door to St. Petersburg and the KHL for Kovalchuk, a man of independence who was ultimately granted his by Lou Lamoriello as the least of all evils.

There may be owners on the NHL Board of Governors, but 15-year contract notwithstanding, Kovalchuk simply would not cede ownership of his life to these men who had prohibited him from playing under that very contract for more than the first scheduled three months of last season.

Kovalchuk’s mom ranks among those who’ve said that this wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t spending a portion of the 2012-13 hockey season in the KHL.

Ultimately, it’s probably too simple to point to one factor when it’s likely that plenty of facets influenced his decision. Even so, this Brooks line might be quite true:

Revenue increased on a per capita basis, TV ratings reached record levels and the NHL conducted business as usual once the Board of Governors unlocked the doors in January, but Owners’ Lockout III did indeed produce collateral damage, with Ilya Kovalchuk serving as Exhibit A.

  1. blackheart78 - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Is prohockeytalk going to report actual hockey news or this gossip for now on?

    • stakex - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      There is no actually hockey news right now….

  2. 950003cups - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    I hope his wife divorces him for a man with more money who lives in NJ. Hey, commitments mean nothing when someone waives more money in your face.

    • stakex - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      So I guess you have never left a job for one closer to home or that pays more? Because that’s all the guy did so stop taking it so personally….

      • kegmen7 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        After I ask for and receive a 15 year 100 million dollar contract, cost my employer a 3 million dollar fine, a first round pick, and then 250,000 a year until 2025? No, none of us has.

      • nj666 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        I’m guessing you have never made a commitment to anything in your life..

      • daburghdabest - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:31 PM

        kegmen7 – Jul 14, 2013 at 9:28 PM
        After I ask for and receive a 15 year 100 million dollar contract, cost my employer a 3 million dollar fine, a first round pick, and then 250,000 a year until 2025? No, none of us has.

        Don’t worry sir, we have a Waaahmbulance on the way & it should be there any minute!

      • kegmen7 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:38 PM


        I guess if you don’t have an answer that disproves or counters the comment, you respond as you did. Keep working on an actual response. Thanks for caring and sharing.

  3. idun215 - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    i have no problem with Kovy leaving. Its not like the Devils are upset. They get a contract off their books for the next 12yrs. That would been a horrible in 5yrs with his cap hit at 6.6mil and even he retires his cap would count for a little bit. Since he retires now and it will cost only 300k in cap space for 12yrs. Kovy gets to go home make 20mil per year and play in front of his family and i can’t fault him for that.

  4. chrisk61 - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    yeah really. enough already. whatever the motive, what he did lacked character, for the timing if not anything else. but it lacked character, and i am being diplomatic in using that phrase, on many other levels. he doesn’t deserve attention. his name should not be mentioned anymore.

  5. puckmepuckyou - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Didn’t cost them a compliance buyout. Good move.

  6. chrisk61 - Jul 14, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    where i come from, he who shall be nameless would be called a PU**Y

    • daburghdabest - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      OMG quit crying about it & get over it ya big baby. You’re probably one of those dudes that sends anonymous threats to the new boyfriends of girls that dump you.

      • nj666 - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        you’d be crying like a girl if it were malkin…

      • daburghdabest - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:01 AM

        nj666 – Jul 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM
        you’d be crying like a girl if it were malkin…

        It would never happen because the Penguins aren’t broke like the Devils & wouldn’t sign off on him wanting to void his contract & retire.

  7. chrisk61 - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    daburghdabest, i am from central PA, hard core steelers and pens territory. but now i live in philly and am a long time flyers season ticket holder. but any nhl fan regardless of team should find the actions of this “reverse defector” unacceptable.

    also let me ask you, why do you guys call malkin “geno” like he is italian ? that is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. why don’t ya ask the primanti bros what they think ?

    • daburghdabest - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      When a person isn’t a xenophobe like yourself, no one cares why his nickname is Italian.

  8. joey4id - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    i don’t get all you guys who are on his back for leaving the devils to go play in another league. is it ok for a team to trade a player before the terms of the conctract have ended? do we qualify owners as dishonest? we don’t live in a communist country unlike the days of the Red Army when players were not allowed to leave the team. Heck back in those days they weren’t allowed to leave theid country for a better life. the only conctracts must of you ever signed are probably the ones you have to sign when playing sports as a kid

  9. jcrileyesq - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    they void his contract and then lock him out….yeah I would stay in the NHL to make less money and be a half a world away from my family and culture

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