It was one of the stunning developments in the National Hockey League this summer, but it appears Ilya Kovalchuk’s decision to go back to Russia is one he’s happy with.
Kovalchuk, who, according to Capgeek.com, was about to enter the fourth year of a 15-year contract worth $100 million with the New Jersey Devils, announced his retirement from the NHL on July 11. He scored 417 goals and 399 assists in 816 games during his time in the league.
Just four days after shocking the hockey world with his decision to leave for Russia, his home country, Kovalchuk signed with SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.
As per hockeydb.com, Kovalchuk has 14 goals and 36 points in 38 games with SKA Saint Petersburg this season.
“I’m really enjoying everything here,” Kovalchuk recently told the Associated Press. “It’s a great league. The game is different, but we are getting there. There are good players here for sure.”
“I talked to Lou (Lamoriello) for sure and it wasn’t just one day … I appreciate the way he handled the situation and I’m excited it worked out for both sides.”
Kovalchuk’s next challenge will be with the Russian men’s Olympic ice hockey team, which looks to rebound for a dismal quarter-final loss to Canada, the eventual gold-medal winners in Vancouver four years ago.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen
The Arizona Coyotes might not be using John Scott‘s services after all.
The team waived him this afternoon, per Craig Morgan. It’s possible that the Coyotes are simply giving themselves options as Scott clearing would allow them to send him down quickly at any point until he plays in 10 games or 30 days pass. At the same time, any team looking for a gritty fourth-line forward or third-pairing defenseman might be tempted to claim him in light of his affordable $575K cap hit for the 2015-16 campaign.
Scott is an imposing presence on the ice at 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, but he doesn’t bring much to the table other than his physical play and willingness to drop the gloves. In terms of offensive abilities, he’s among the least capable in the league. In fact, the four points he recorded last season with the San Jose Sharks represented a career-high for the 33-year-old.
Meanwhile, Dan Cleary went unclaimed on waivers, according to Bob McKenzie, setting the stage for him to be reassigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.