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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.

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