Ilya Kovalchuk will apparently return to New Jersey from Russia on Tuesday, January 15, according to Sovietsky Sport.
15th Jan Ilya Kovalchuk will fly back to U.S. and play for NJ.
— Pavel Lysenkov (@plysenkov) January 11, 2013
This means Kovalchuk will miss at least the first three days of training camp and will likely have to spend the rest of camp recovering from jet lag. However, assuming he’s healthy it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. He’ll have played roughly the same amount of games up to this point in the KHL that he played up to this date last year (36 in KHL vs. 38 last season with Devils). Also, since he’s been playing, he has far less need for a training camp than those player trying to make the team or those have haven’t been playing competitively. The most important thing for the Devils is Kovalchuk gets some practice time with Travis Zajac and gets his body clock set before the season kicks off on Jan. 19. On a side note, let’s hope this is the last time this year I have to write about SKA St. Peterburg and the KHL. REAL hockey is just around the corner.