Kovalchuk would be “delighted” to play in the KHL all season


If the NHL and NHLPA can’t come to their senses and negotiate an end to the lockout, Ilya Kovalchuk says he’s happy to play the entire season in the KHL.

“I really don’t care, the main thing for me is hockey,” Kovalchuk, now with SKA St. Petersburg, told RIA Novosti.

“I really like it here and if there isn’t a season there, then I’d be delighted to play it out here and try to do it as well as possible.”

Kovalchuk did, however, admit that playing professional hockey in Russia isn’t quite as cushy as what he’s used to as a member of the New Jersey Devils.

“The NHL’s been around for more than a hundred years, but the KHL’s existed for just five,” he said. “In terms of infrastructure there’s something to strive for. If the arenas in all the cities were as good as in St. Pete, then we could talk about something.”

Kovalchuk was set to earn $11 million this year in New Jersey. And unlike many of his superstar brethren who negotiated guaranteed signing bonuses as a form of lockout insurance, he won’t get a penny out of the Devils if there’s no NHL season.