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Kovalchuk Saga

Ilya Kovalchuk finally arrived as Devils camp yesterday and needless to say, he is soooooo happy to be back in the NHL. The KHL? Those brown paper bags filled with off-the-books bookoo bucks? What?! He never wanted to stay there! He doesn't know where you guys are getting that from.

Look, I haven't been bothered by this story from the outset. I understood the whole political wrangling of it all -- the KHL asking Ilya and the rest of "The Russian 4" (Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Malkin) to help their native league make a statement to the big, bad NHL. Then there's the allure of playing at home, in front your family and friends and the fact that the KHL can pay him a lot more than the NHL can -- on the books and otherwise.

But then Kovy decided to go and play dumb today at the Prudential Center and that got me all sorts of riled up. It's just all so damn disingenuous and ridiculous.

Tags: Alexander Medvedev, Analysis, CBA, contract, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, lockout, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Russia, Vladimir Putin
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The once-hard-to-locate Ilya Kovalchuk is back in Jersey and addressed the KHL fiasco and his absence in front of reporters Wednesday. Check it out below, via the Devils' official YouTube account.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC0dTy17dGY&w=560&h=315]

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, Video, Training Camp, Watch
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Yes folks, Ilya Kovalchuk is not only back in the United States, he's in New Jersey and has arrived at the Prudential Center! Rejoice! Let the angels sing!

? Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) January 16, 2013Earlier Wednesday, Lou Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of The Record that Kovy would be at the 2 p.m. practice/scrimmage with AHL Albany. It wasn't clear if he'd participate in the scrimmage.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center, scrimmage, Training Camp, Training camp
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Tags: Kovalchuk Saga, Training Camp, Tweets
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So with the CBA nearly buttoned up and a Memo of Understanding signed, the league released official report dates for training camps. You know, those times and dates where if a player isn't in camp, they're in violation of league rules? This matters for a few players, namely Ilya Kovalchuk, who is in the process of returning to the Devils from the KHL.

Tags: CBA, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils
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As we all know, Ilya Kovalchuk participated in the KHL's All-Star Game and I think we can all assume after watching he'll be just fine when he gets back to N.J.

Side note: Sweet figure skating moves, Ilya.

Tags: Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, Video, Watch
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Most of the Devils are fine with Ilya Kovalchuk's KHL dalliances -- although Patrick Elias doesn't seem too pleased with it. With news that Ilya has finally relented and will leave Russia as early as Monday, I started to wonder how you guys feel about his dance with the Russian devil, so to speak. Let your voice be heard in the poll below!

[polldaddy poll=6823707]

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Poll, SKA St. Petersburg
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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.

Via Tom Gulitti of The Record:

?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.

Tags: CBA, contract, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, NHL, SKA St. Petersburg
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Ilya Kovalchuk continues to hold out behind the red curtain. The Russian winger suited up for SKA St. Petersburg again Thursday, attempting to put a further scare into the Devils and the NHL. Neither party, at least publicly, appears concerned, but the general manager of Kovalchuk's KHL club isn't backing down.

Kasatonov, ironically a former Devil, is taking the only public stance he can. We're not buying the idea that Kovalchuk won't honor his NHL contract when push becomes a strongly worded shove from Gary Bettman and the IIHF. The only interesting part of this whole case will be whether Kovy really tries to play in Sunday's KHL ASG after the CBA has been ratified by his union and whether the NHL and/or the Devils decide to reprimand him.
Tags: CBA, Gary Bettman, IIHF, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kontinental Hockey League, Kovalchuk Saga, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Russia, SKA St. Petersburg
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Gary Bettman addressed the media after owners unanimously ratified the tentative CBA at Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting. Needless to say, he was non-committal when asked about players possibly violating their contracts by participating in the KHL All-Star game after the union (likely) approves the CBA on Saturday.

Consider it a not-so-subtle shot at the KHL and Russian officials. According to his agent, Pavel Datsyuk got clearance from the Red Wings to participate in the game, but we haven't seen anything close to that from the Devils or Kovalchuk's reps. Also, don't underestimate how much this situation ties into future negotiations regarding player participation in the Olympics. It's no secret how important the Sochi games are to Russian players and the NHL is obviously not above playing hardball if it's backed up against a wall by the KHL.
Tags: CBA, Gary Bettman, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, lockout, NHL
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The NHL expects Ilya Kovalchuk to honor his NHL contract and report to the Devils once the CBA is signed, sealed and delivered. So does Lou Lamoriello. But that doesn't mean Kovalchuk can't get one last game in on Russian soil.Kovalchuk was listed on the roster for the KHL's All-Star Game, scheduled for Sunday, which happens to be the same day NHL clubs are expected to open training camps.

Now comes this from the KHL's VP of Hockey Ops (via Dmitry Chesnokov):

Kovalchuk received an offer [to play in the All Star Game] and is going to Chelyabinsk. Because the lockout is not officially over, the CBA will not be signed until Sunday.

Tags: CBA, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kovalchuk Saga, lockout, New Jersey Devils, Quote
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