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17 января 2013 года.
Kovalchuk hits the ice with Devs as promised // New York Daily News

Botte, Peter. 

LOU Lamoriello never doubted Ilya Kovalchuk would be back with the Devils once the NHL lockout ended, and the star winger insisted Wednesday that he had no plans to play out this season in his native Russia.

Kovalchuk was on the ice with teammates for the first time since returning Tuesday night from the Kontinental Hockey League. After netting a goal for the Devils in a scrimmage against their AHL Albany affiliate in Newark, Kovalchuk said he received permission from Lamoriello to be late to training camp only because of an obligation he felt to play in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday. "I'm happy that I'm back," said Kovalchuk, who is beginning the third year of a 15-year contract worth $100 million. "I don't know where you read all those comments (that I wouldn't return), but I have a contract here. In the KHL, they have a rule that as soon as the lockout ends, we have to go back and nobody have a choice. "The president of the league asked us to play (in the All-Star Game). They already sell the tickets to see us play, and (the fans there) were upset, so we just decided to stay. It's good that Lou and ownership understand me and accept it, so I really appreciate it." Kovalchuk skated mostly on the right of center Travis Zajac, who signed an eight-year contract on Wednesday, and Dainius Zubrus. Kovalchuk added that he believes those who played overseas during the lockout will have "a real advantage" over those who didn't when the 48-game regular season begins Saturday with the Devils facing the Islanders.

"He played 30 some games (in Russia) ... I had no question he'd be in shape. I've never seen him out of shape," Lamoriello said. "I never had any reason to believe he wouldn't come back. ... I'm sure there was pressure to stay there. (KHL officials) said it publicly. It's your home country. He's one of the national heroes right now in hockey over there. I understand the pressure (to play in the All-Star Game)." Kovalchuk added that rumors about Russian president Vladimir Putin offering him big dollars to remain in Russia was "not true," before joking, "I'm sure he's got some other stuff to take care of." TRAVIS PAYBACK: Zajac, entering the final year of his existing contract, signed an eight-year extension beginning next season worth $46 million. ... Second-year center Adam Henrique skated for the first time since Nov. 29 thumb surgery, but Lamoriello said he's "a couple of weeks" from playing.

Страничка Ильи Ковальчука на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"

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