Ilya Kovalchuk Retires


Newark– In a move that some analysts are describing as “the worst thing to hit New Jersey since Superstorm Sandy,” Ilya Kovalchuk surprised the hockey world by announcing his retirement from the NHL.

“We didn’t expect this at all,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters, fighting back tears. “I mean, we signed him to a monster contract! He told us he loved it here! First Parise, now Kovy?! Was it something I said?!”

This past hockey season was anything but ordinary, with half of the season wiped out by a lockout, followed by a playoffs that saw both the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders competing for the Cup, to the Cup itself being won by a Chicago Blackhawks team that saw its fan base plummet after they allowed Justin Bieber to walk all over their logo and otherwise shower the immortal trophy in his (her?) presence. But this move may have topped them all. Fresh off losing top scoring threat David Clarkson to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team acquired Ryan Clowe and Cory Schneider. Fans had plenty of reasons to believe that the Devils would rebound…until Kovalchuk decided to hang up the skates, despite being only 30 years old and having 12 years, $77 million left on his (then) blockbuster 15 year, $100 million deal.

“I want to be back home with my family,” Kovalchuk announced to the media during a press conference outside the Prudential Center. “There are a lot of reasons, but that is the main one.” Other reasons cited included PTSD from playing for the Atlanta Thrashers, the prospect of making “a crap-ton” of money in Russia playing for the KHL, and “just wanting to get away from this garbage heap you Americans call ‘New Jersey.'”

Never in NHL history has one player been an absolute destroyer of franchises. After abandoning the Atlanta Thrashers to mediocrity and eventual relocation to Winnipeg (the team still doesn’t have any stars. No, Evander Kane doesn’t qualify), he cost the Devils Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, two 1st round draft picks, a 2nd round draft pick, $3 million to repay the NHL for circumventing the salary cap, Zach Parise, John MacLean, and will carry a $250,000 cap hit against the Devils until his contract expires in 2025. Seriously, there should be an award for having that much of an impact. Sources are unsure what the NHL will do to stem the tide of Russian players who say they want to play for the NHL, only to bolt back to Russia for more money and/or easier competition.

One thing is for sure, however. The only winner in this saga is Ilya Kovalchuk.

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