NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - While caught off-guard by star forward Ilya Kovalchuk's decision to retire from the NHL and return home to Russia, New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer said his team's job this season is to prove doubters wrong.
Speaking between sessions of a rookie camp, DeBoer said the loss of the 30-year-old Kovalchuk leaves holes on the team's top line and specialty teams, and creates playing time others will have to fill.
DeBoer knew during the season that Kovalchuk was interested in returning to Russia, but he didn't expect a final decision last week. He admitted he was disappointed with Kovalchuk's decision but not angry.
Kovalchuk, who walked away from $77 million on the 15-year contract he signed in 2010, agreed to a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL on Monday.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Top NHL Public Bets

Advertisement

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Montreal surprisingly mediocre on road Home ice has been very good to the Blues so far this season. But will the NHL’s top team put an end to the fun shortly?
Thumbnail Panthers vs. Bruins Prediction The Panthers have been a horrible bet against the Bruins but will they pull off the upset tonight at 7:00PM ET in Boston?
Thumbnail Detroit hopes to hold off surging Pittsburgh So far this season, nothing has been easy for the Red Wings. Add tonight’s matchup against the explosive Penguins to the list.
Thumbnail Caps trying to regain footing out East   Washington didn’t exactly end the month of November on a stirring note. But can the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner return to form against the Islanders?
Thumbnail Luongo attempts to give Florida a jolt A new era of Panthers hockey begins tonight. But can the Blackhawks stand tall and deliver yet another stellar performance at the...
Advertisement
Advertisement

NHL Team Pages