Skip to content

Kovalchuk says he’s not thinking about possibility of NHL return

Jul 15, 2013, 1:12 PM EDT

ilyakovalchukgetty Getty Images

How, when, or if Ilya Kovalchuk can one day return to the NHL has been a hot topic since the 30-year-old sniper left New Jersey to sign a four-year contract with KHL club SKA Saint Petersburg.

According to the New York Post, the rules says he’s free to come back to the NHL when he turns 35. The Record’s Tom Gulitti, on the other hand, has been told the Devils may still be able to challenge a Kovalchuk return, even when he’s 35 or older.

Ask Kovalchuk about it, though — as Sovietsky Sport did — and it’s clear it’s not a topic he wants to discuss.

“I am not going to Russia to start thinking about coming back to the NHL,” he said (as translated by Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo! Sports).

Kovalchuk also said he chose to leave North America because he’s more comfortable in Russia, where his mom, sister and friends live.

He did express a bit of sadness that he was never able to win the Stanley Cup, but he’s sure he made the right decision by signing in the KHL.

  1. quizguy66 - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Credible source – Devils can challenge him returning him even at age 35 (but whether they do that or not is an open question).

    Non-credible source – Kovalchuk can return at age 35 no matter what.

    That’s how I read it.

    But it’s a dead issue. The chump is gone. Long live the Devils!

  2. ibieiniid - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    who the hell would even ask him that? “Sovietsky Sport – Asking the questions others are too cognisant to ask.”

    • ibieiniid - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      lmao i think i can translate his answer better… “I am not going to Russia to start thinking about coming back to the NHL, dips**t.”

      • barkar942 - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        I want to be near my mama.
        Good for you. Now send the Devils back about $30 million you cost them for nothing so you can go home and be with mama.

    • ibieiniid - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      wow, there’s really 2 people (the thumbs downers so far) that were wondering if, a week after retirement, he was considering un-retiring. you must be devils (or Favre) fans.

  3. tmoore4075 - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I don’t think he comes back. I think people are taking his sisters comments out of context and I can’t imaigne he’d sit here now leaving in July and say “I’ll be back in 4 years.” He’s going home to go home and can make more money there. Why come back?

  4. 950003cups - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    What a bad situation this turned out to be for us. It would have been so much easier if he stayed 4 months here and dogged it. Then we’re happy to see him off. But the SOB was a machine out on the ice.

  5. quizguy66 - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Kovalchuk has a history of having his family make statements while staying mum. Passive-aggressive leverage attempt IMO.

  6. blomfeld - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Parasite: An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.


    All I know or even care to know about this parasite, is the fact that we LA Kings ruthlessly ‘smashed’ this idiot in the last SC final that he’ll ever play in !

    GO KINGS GO !!! … back next year bigger and badder than ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. thejrod2006 - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Look on the bright side….at least he won’t be screwing over SKA St. Petersburg if he decides to go back to the NHL since there won’t be 12 years remaining on his KHL contract in 2018. I call that progress.

    Of course, I don’t want to hear a word from Kovalchuk in 2018 about doing ‘what’s best for his family’ when reports surface that he wants to sign with the Penguins. Or the Rangers. Or the Devils. Or any of the other 27 teams. If you’re REALLY that concerned about making sure your kids embrace their Russian heritage, STAY THERE.

    What a load of crap that would be. But considering it’s Kovalchuk….that would be about par for the course.

  8. houseof666 - Jul 15, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Ya I don’t get why there has been so many different articles on when kovy CAN return? Who cares, the guy doesn’t want to play in the NHL anymore. Let it rest.

  9. blackhawks2010 - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    We are more comfortable with you in Russia also.

    – NHL fans

  10. babykaby - Jul 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    I don’t believe a single person leaving negative comments wouldn’t do the same thing he did. If you played in Russia and could come back to the US, where your family and friends are, and still play the game you love for big money, most of you would do it in a heart beat. He didn’t screw the Devils or the Devils fans. He played hard for the amount of money he was offered. Nobody forced the Devils to give him that contract. So what if he cut the time short. It isn’t like he is still collecting Devils money. How about the teams that cut players without any warning? Briere and Lecavilea are two fine examples. Kovy is a great player and will be missed here in the US. If I was russian I wouldn’t want to play here because of all the russian prejudice in hockey. There are many russian players that fall into the “greatest players in the world” category, and yet they are insulted and belittled by fans and media constantly. I think this will keep up till they all decide to just stay in Russia instead of taking the constant abuse. Then you know what? The NHL will no longer be able to claim they have the best players in the world.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1795)
  2. P. Kane (1433)
  3. M. Richards (1296)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1288)
  5. N. Backstrom (1145)