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Lamoriello gave Kovalchuk his blessing to play in KHL All-Star Game, come to camp late


The stir surrounding Ilya Kovalchuk’s delayed arrival to New Jersey and seeming uneasiness about leaving Russia can be put to bed as far as the Devils are concerned.

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

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

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.