Ilya Kovalchuk

Kovalchuk says “time will tell” if he stays in the KHL


Ilya Kovalchuk wants to know exactly what the NHL’s new CBA looks like before he makes up his mind about returning to North America to play for the New Jersey Devils. So until the agreement is ratified (expected to be Saturday), he’ll be staying in Russia with his KHL club, SKA St. Petersburg.

Oh, and staying in Russia beyond CBA ratification isn’t out of the question, he says. The 29-year-old tells Sport-Express that he’s “not in a hurry to get to America” and plans to play in Sunday’s KHL All-Star game if the league’s commissioner, Alexander Medvedev, allows it.

And if the NHL’s new CBA isn’t to his liking?

“Time will tell (if I stay in the KHL),” Kovalchuk said. “Nothing is out of the question.”

Kovalchuk has $88 million remaining on his contract with the Devils, so there’s plenty of incentive to return to North America; however, it’s likely he’ll lose some of his salary to escrow as the NHL transitions to a 50-50 split of league revenues between players and owners.

Also, according to Sport-Express, there may be Russian “oil and natural gas magnates” that are hoping to keep Kovalchuk, along with Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, in the KHL.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the KHL has indicated it will honor Kovalchuk’s contract with the Devils, as per an agreement between the two leagues.

Related: Could Ovechkin and/or Kovalchuk legally get out of their NHL contracts?

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

Gleason ends tryout with ‘Canes

Tim Gleason, David Desharnais
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Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.

“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”

Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.

In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.

Isles call Strome back up

Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.

The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.

Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.

The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.

McLellan on Oilers’ loss to ‘Canes: ‘That’s a really disappointing effort from our hockey club’

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With the addition of Connor McDavid, 2015-16 was supposed to be the year Edmonton showed significant progress on the ice.

We’re less than two months into the season, McDavid’s out because of a broken clavicle, and the so-called progress just hasn’t been there.

On Wednesday, the Oilers hit a new low, as they were handed their fifth loss in their last six games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring in the first period, but Carolina answered with four unanswered goals by Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Nestrasil to win 4-1.

“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”

As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupov to injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.

After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:

Edmonton collected 14 points in the first 22 games of the 2014-15 season and after the same amount of games this year, they have just one more point.

They’re currently alone in last place.