Ilya Kovalchuk participated in his first day of New Jersey Devils training camp on Wednesday, but perhaps most importantly, he made it clear he was happy to be there.
The high-end sniper took time to dismiss various KHL-related rumors with Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger.
“I have a contract here and in the KHL they have a rule that as soon as the lockout ends we have to go back,” Kovalchuk said. “Nobody has a choice. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind I was going to come back.”
Perhaps the “nobody has a choice” line indicates that part of him wishes he could finish 2012-13 overseas, but he stomped out what was left of the scuttlebutt – including laughing off some odd stuff about Russian president Vladimir Putin trying to convince him to stay.
“No, that’s not true. I’m sure he’s got some other stuff to take care of,” Kovalchuk said. “I had a great time there, we had a good team but I have a contract here. I’m happy I’m back. I’m happy we’re all back because I think it’s going to be an exciting season.”
More good news: head coach Peter DeBoer liked what he saw from the jet-lagged star today.
“For a guy who got off a plane after I don’t know how long a travel day it was for him, I thought he looked pretty good. It’s nice to have him back,” DeBoer said.
They certainly need him, especially with Adam Henrique on the mend.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.
It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.
It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.
The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.
It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.
Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.
Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.
Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.
The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:
The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.
Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.
It looks like the injury bug has taken another chunk out of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers, who are already without Mark Streit, Ryan White and R.J. Umberger, have now lost Nick Schultz to injury.
Schultz left Saturday’s game against the Rangers in the first period after taking a hit from Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath.
Luke Schenn went after McIlrath right after he delivered the hit and both players dropped the gloves.
Schultz did not return.
You can watch the entire sequence by clicking on the video at the top of the page.
The 33-year-old has just one assist in 23 games, but he leads the Flyers in blocked shots with 54.