Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters this morning that he gave Kovalchuk the “OK” to play in the KHL All-Star Game today and to arrive at training camp a couple days late. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice has the details on how there won’t be any slaps on the wrist coming Kovalchuk’s way.
“So, I’m very comfortable with this situation and there is no penalty involved,” Lamoriello said. “There’s no disrespect involved. I’ve talked to him and I feel comfortable where we’re at. We’re anxious to get him back here and get him in the lineup with all the rest of the people and there will be no repercussions.”
Even Devils coach Peter DeBoer tells Gulitti that Kovalchuk’s absence is a “non-issue” and he’s eager to get him back knowing he’s “ahead of the curve” thanks to his KHL play. It would’ve been nice to have heard this last week, but we digress.
We can probably put this controversy to bed and perhaps even get a “C” ready for Kovalchuk’s jersey when he returns
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.