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Report: Kovalchuk will play in China next season

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk reacts after Kovalchuk scoring a goal against Norway in the second period of a men’s ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


The Ilya Kovalchuk saga has taken another strange twist. It seems like Kovalchuk will be leaving SKA Saint Petersburg to join another team. According to a report out of Moscow, Kovalchuk will join the KHL’s Chinese expansion team next season.

The sniper seems to have had a falling out with the coaching staff at SKA Saint Petersburg. He was removed from the lineup in the first round of the playoffs, but after rumblings of him leaving the team surfaced, he was put back in during the team’s second round series. Again, they opted to take him out of the lineup.

After his relationship with SKA started disintegrating, many people expected him to make a return to the NHL. Obviously, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen at this point.

The 32-year-old had 16 goals and 49 points in 50 KHL regular season games this season. He had no points in four playoff games.


--Kovalchuk ‘removed’ from KHL team after first game of the playoffs

--Kovalchuk stripped of captaincy by KHL club

--SKA makes Kovalchuk a healthy scratch again