As Ilya Kovalchuk Spurns the Start of Training Camp, Devils Lack a Clear Captain

January 11th, 2013 by Terence McGinley Leave a reply »
Ilya Kovalchuk still has not returned from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, but do not worry New Jersey Devils fans. He plans to return January 15th, according to Tom Gulitti's Fire and Ice blog. It never was in question, really. Sure, he and other Russian stars like Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk love to play in their home country. Why wouldn't they? But to think Kovalchuk would actually defy the New Jersey Devils and the indulgent 15-year contract they offered him two years ago is simple over-anxiety. That would have been a brief legal battle won by the NHL.

Sure, you can let guy play in the KHL all-star game. The fans of SKA St. Petersburg voted him in and would love to see their countryman play. Heck, he is certainly a bigger celebrity in Russia than he is in the good ol' U.S. of A.

From an on-ice perspective this is not an earth shaker. Kovalchuk seems healthy and he'll be in good shape to play. It seems a safe bet to pencil him in for around 15-20 goals this shortened season. However, Kovalchuk's spurning of the start of training camp—he is the only Devil not expected to show up on time—leaves head coach Pete DeBoer in a tough position. P ...

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