Ilya Kovalchuk’s post-NHL career has taken an unfortunate turn.
In just his ninth game with KHL St. Petersburg, Kovalchuk was carrying the puck into the attacking zone when his teammate, Alexei Ponikarovsky, drove into him. The accidental open-ice hit injured Kovalchuk’s shoulder and will cause him to miss about four weeks, according to Andrey Osadchenko and Sovetsky Sport’s Natalia Phila.
You can view the collision below:
Ponikarovsky, like Kovalchuk, was a member of the New Jersey Devils last season. Of course, Kovalchuk’s departure got far more attention given his status as an elite player and the fact that he “retired” to get out of the final 12 seasons of his 15-year, $110 million contract. Although he consequently walked away from $77 million, it’s worth noting that the move might have actually been to his financial benefit.
Kovalchuk has seven goals and 10 points this season and he should be a key player on Team Russia in the upcoming Winter Olympics.