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Report: Kovalchuk to play in KHL All-Star Game -- on Sunday

Ilya Kovalchuk

CORRECTS TO KINGS WINNING 4-2, NOT 4-1 - New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk answers a question from the media as the team packs up for the year in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The Devils lost four game to two to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup final NHL hockey series. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)


The Ilya Kovalchuk saga continued Wednesday as the KHL released an updated roster for its annual All-Star Game -- a roster that’s void of eight NHL stars originally named to the game.

The one that wasn’t removed?

Ilya Kovalchuk.

The New Jersey sniper remains the lone NHLer slated to play in the contest (to be held in Chelyabinsk), a curious development given rumblings of Kovalchuk passing on a return to North America to finish out the year in Russia.

Here’s more, from Tom Gulitti of

“The CBA will not be signed until Sunday,” Shalaev told Lysenkov. “So Kovalchuk (has) no employment relationship with the NHL, and he is going to Chelyabinsk. ...We are disappointed that all the other NHL stars were quick to go to North America. ...

“Will Kovalchuk play in the KHL till the end of this season? Do not hurry up. Wait till Sunday…”

Actually, the electronic vote to ratify the new CBA is expected to be completed by the players on Saturday (NHL’s Board of Governors are voting today) and training camps expected to open Sunday, but that is not official yet.

So, if camp does open Sunday and Kovalchuk does play in the KHL All-Star Game, he would miss the first day of camp with the Devils (which would likely be physicals).

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told Gulitti that Kovalchuk hasn’t asked permission to play in the All-Star Game, but also said he’s not 100 percent sure when the camps or the season will start -- ergo, he’s not going to jump to conclusions.

“I have no reason to believe [Kovalchuk] won’t be here,” Lamoriello said. “I don’t even know what day the ratification is. I don’t even know when we start, yet. There’s too many unknowns to make any decisions, so I’m not even getting into anything.”

Oh, and just to add another weird wrinkle to this already bizarre story, here’s Larry Brooks from the New York Post:

Lou Lamoriello worked tirelessly in 88, 89 with Soviet leader Gorbachev to get Slava Fetisov out of USSR and over to Devils/NHL. 1/2

— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) January 9, 2013

2/2 Now, Post is told that Fetisov is playing prime role in KHL attempt to keep Kovalchuk and other Russians from returning to NHL.

— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) January 9, 2013


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