If the NHL and NHLPA can’t come to their senses and negotiate an end to the lockout, Ilya Kovalchuk says he’s happy to play the entire season in the KHL.
“I really don’t care, the main thing for me is hockey,” Kovalchuk, now with SKA St. Petersburg, told RIA Novosti.
“I really like it here and if there isn’t a season there, then I’d be delighted to play it out here and try to do it as well as possible.”
Kovalchuk did, however, admit that playing professional hockey in Russia isn’t quite as cushy as what he’s used to as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
“The NHL’s been around for more than a hundred years, but the KHL’s existed for just five,” he said. “In terms of infrastructure there’s something to strive for. If the arenas in all the cities were as good as in St. Pete, then we could talk about something.”
Kovalchuk was set to earn $11 million this year in New Jersey. And unlike many of his superstar brethren who negotiated guaranteed signing bonuses as a form of lockout insurance, he won’t get a penny out of the Devils if there’s no NHL season.
With a quote that’s sure to raise the ire of the stats crowd, here’s Jonathan Quick on his .833 save percentage to start the season:
“That’s for people that don’t know the game. Those numbers don’t mean nothing. We’re 0-2, though. That number means something, so that’s something that we’ve got to get better at.”
(That quote, per LA Kings Insider.)
Quick allowed four goals on 22 shots in his last outing, a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Friday, after which head coach Darryl Sutter said of his star goalie: “He didn’t play very well tonight, did he?”
So even if Quick doesn’t think much of statistics, he should still be extra motivated for tonight’s home game against Vancouver, assuming he gets the start.
Last season, Quick’s .918 save percentage ranked in a three-way tie for 14th out of the 29 goalies who started 40 or more games.
After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.
Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.