NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The controversy surrounding Devils left winger Ilya Kovalchuk continues.
Kovalchuk has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, and is on the roster for the KHL All-Star Game set to take place on Sunday in Chelyabinsk.
And therein lies the confusion.
Sunday is the same day that NHL training camps will likely open, with the regular-season schedule expected to get under way six days later.
There has been some speculation as to whether or not Kovalchuk wants to return to America and rejoin the Devils. However, the NHL and KHL honored to honor each other’s contracts, and the prolific scorer is required to return to New Jersey and join the team for the shortened campaign.
“The CBA will not be signed until Sunday,” KHL Vice President Vladimir Shalaev told Sovietsky Sport. “So Kovalchuk (has) no employment relationship with the NHL and he is going to Chelyabinsk. We are disappointed that all the other NHL stars were quick to go to North America. Will Kovalchuk play in the KHL (until) the end of this season? Do not hurry up. Wait (until) Sunday.”
But the CBA is scheduled to be ratified by the NHL Board of Governors and the players by Saturday, officially ending the lockout.
Every NHL player that was voted into the KHL All-Star Game — including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Zdeno Chara — has been taken off the roster in advance of the upcoming NHL season.
The only NHL player still on the roster is Kovalchuk.
The Russian was traded to the Devils in 2010 and subsequently signed a 15-year, $100 million contract with the team.
In the 2011-’12 season, the 10-year veteran scored 37 goals and had 46 assists.
How do you predict this Kovalchuk situation to play out? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…