Ilya Kovalchuk has been in the news quite a bit over the past week, mainly due to his desire to remain in the KHL for the rest of the season. He knows he can't stay (he still has 13 years left on his contract with the New Jersey Devils), and it's expected he'll be back in New Jersey as early as Monday.
He did stick around for the KHL All-Star Game festivities this weekend, however, and here he is taking part in some figure skating on Saturday. Yes, figure skating.
Also featured: Former Pittsburgh Penguin Aleksey Morozov.
He's ready for the season.
Tweeted Cherry (or the CBC intern who ghost Tweets for him):
"So Ilya Kovalchuk would rather stay in Russia and play in the KHL. Hmmm. And he'd like to miss the season in New Jersey. When he comes back that will really endear him to the NJ fans. I know one guy, I know he won't say it, would be happy. Lou Lamoriello. Imagine Lou gets rid of that albatross around his neck of Kovalchuk's 15 year 100 million dollar contract. Imagine all that money for a guy that only scores 37 goals. I'm tellin ya, I'm not one for stats but get this one. Kovalchuk has led the league in giveaways the past 2 seasons. I'll tell ya one more thing. He'll miss Parise who has gone to Minnesota. Parise got 16 assists on Kovalchuk's 37 goals. But I'm sorry to say Lou, he'll be back."
So many wonderful things in there, especially the part about Kovalchuk "only" scoring 37 goals.
Just in case you've forgotten, here are the players who scored more than 37 goals last season: Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik, James Neal, Alex Ovechkin.
It's also great how Cherry isn't much for stats, but then references a stat like giveaways in the same sentence. Of course, it's not all that surprising Kovalchuk led the league in giveaways because the players near the top of that list are usually guys who have the puck the most (some of the other players in the top-20 players in giveaways last season were Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, Malkin, Phil Kessel, Jason Spezza, and Drew Doughty).
Given the state of the Devils roster at this point, especially with the loss of Zach Parise, we're guessing general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Pete DeBoer are thrilled their best player is going to be back this season, even with the giveaways. And "only" scoring 37 goals.