As the New Jersey Devils prepare for the 2013-14 season without Ilya Kovalchuk, the Russian forward is preparing for the first season of his four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. If you recall, Kovalchuk retired from the NHL and backed out of his contract with New Jersey in favor of playing back in the KHL. The move was shocking, but few believed this was the last we'd see of Kovalchuk in the NHL.
Despite his "retirement", the NHL and the Stanley Cup are still on Kovalchuk's mind.
Ilya Kovalchuk to Rsport.ru: 'Stanley Cup remains my target. I'm just 30, it's yet to come'
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 24, 2013
Kind of an odd statement (especially considering the timing), but it isn't a surprising one. The term "retirement" was brandished about in regards to Kovalchuk's departure, but it always seemed like Kovalchuk would pop back up in the NHL at some point in the future. Think of it as Kovalchuk taking a break from the NHL.
You probably shouldn't use this statement as confirmation Kovalchuk will be back in the NHL, but you can use some common sense and figure out he won't be winning too many cups skating in the KHL.