Ilya Kovalchuk’s recent comments disrespected a number of New Jersey Devil greats and misremembers the 2012 team.
Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk wasted no time taking shots at and disrespecting the New Jersey Devils after he officially made his return to the NHL on July 1 when Kovy signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
While Kovalchuk leaving the Devils after three seasons was enough to burn down any type of reputation that he built in the Garden State, his recent comments on Saturday to the media will make Jersey’s fans “boo” him that much more when he returns back to the Prudential Center on Feb. 5, 2019.
— NHL (@NHL) June 23, 2018
Per NHL.com’s Dan Greenspan, it was understood from Kovy’s comments that he joined the Kings because he believed that Los Angeles is a team that has a legitimate shot at winning a Stanley Cup during his own personal success-window that’s closing in “three, four years.”
No, that’s not what’s going to sting Devils fans, but rather his next quote.
“L.A. has a great group of guys, great goaltending, great defense. They have one of the best centers in the League. I never have a chance to play with those type of guys, so it’s really exciting for me and it’s great,” said Kovalchuk.
Yet, the 35-year-old didn’t stop at that statement.
“That was the reason why I came, because they have guys who know how to win and they are really hungry to win,” said Kovalchuk.
The former first-overall selection at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has “never” had the chance to play with some of the league’s top skaters and on one of the league’s best teams to have a shot at a Stanley Cup?
It wasn’t that long ago when Kovalchuk and the Devils met the Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. Yes, New Jersey lost the series in convincing fashion and in what could be a considered a short six-game series, but that Devils team was good to say at the very least.
For starters, the 2012 Devils’ roster entailed two future Hockey Hall of Famers with the likes of Patrik Elias and goaltender Martin Brodeur. Keep in mind that the Devils had an “All-World” and all-star caliber power play, too.
Other notable skaters from that roster that the former Devil played with were Zach Parise, Marek Zidlicky, David Clarkson, Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora can even be thrown into this group of players that Kovy disrespected with his recent comments.
Let’s not forget that the Devils overcame adversity during that memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final. New Jersey defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in five games when the team was the underdog heading into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
Then, the Devils were bigger underdogs when they faced-off with the 2012 Presidents’ Trophy winner in the New York Rangers during the Eastern Conference Finals. That great Devils team took down the NHL’s team with the best regular season record in six games, remember?
The only thing other than the Devils never losing to Kovalchuk and the Kings during his tenure with the City of Angels, would be a rematch of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final but with New Jersey winning. Perhaps then the former Devil would take back his words about “never” playing alongside great players.