Aug 23, 2013, 9:17 PM EDT
It was the news that shocked the hockey world.
Noted sniper Ilya Kovalchuk surprised many when he announced on July 11 that he was retiring from the National Hockey League and would be heading back to his native Russia.
Wouldn’t you know it, he signed with SKA Saint Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League in a deal that was announced four days after his retirement from the NHL and New Jersey Devils.
Now, the Devils must prepare for the upcoming season without Kovalchuk.
“Sure it’s different,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer told the Star-Ledger in July.
“You take out a (Zach) Parise and you take out a Kovalchuk. Those are players who single-handedly can do some things that only a handful of players in the world can do. We’re going to have to be a different team.
“We’re going to have to play more of a team game. Our five-man units and our systems are going to have to be air tight. Our special teams are going to have to be better. Goaltending is going to have to be top notch like it has been. There is going to be an emphasis on all those areas because you’re taking out a couple game-breaking players.”
It might be difficult to replace the 30-year-old Kovalchuk, who scored 417 goals in 816 career NHL regular season games. He was also rolling along at a point-per-game average.
- Canucks ink Brandon Sutter to five-year, $21.875 million extension 18
- NHL unveils ‘historic’ digital media rights deal with MLBAM 36
- It’s Detroit Red Wings Day at PHT 15
- What does Jack Eichel mean to the Buffalo Sabres? 32
- It’s Buffalo Sabres Day at PHT 33
- Bernier, Leafs agree on two-year, $8.3 million deal 29
- How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos? 62
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 71
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 28
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal (71)
- How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos? (62)
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs (45)
- Owner Pegula: Sabres have gone through ‘two of the most successful seasons we’ve ever had’ (43)
- NHL unveils ‘historic’ digital media rights deal with MLBAM (37)