It appears the Ilya Kovalchuk standoff is slowly drawing to its inevitable conclusion. The Russian winger finally addressed the issue after playing for SKA St. Petersburg and wasn’t shy about who he would rather play for.
“I want to stay in St. Petersburg but I have contractual obligations in the NHL, which will be hard to break,” Kovalchuk told Sport-Express in Russia, according to the sports daily’s U.S. correspondent, Slava Malamud.
Malamud later clarified that Kovalchuk was speaking about remaining with SKA St. Petersburg for the remainder of this season and then returning to the Devils in the fall.
“Right now, I can’t imagine how (my staying in the KHL) can be arranged… But I don’t know anything yet,” Kovalchuk said.
Regardless of whether Kovy wants to stay for the season or for his career, the transfer agreement between the NHL and the KHL won’t allow it. With 13 years left on that 15-year, $100 contract he signed with New Jersey, Ilya had best get used to playing on foreign soil. We’ll have more on this whole saga over the weekend, but it will be very interesting to see how Kovy is treated at home games this season.