New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk among leaders in KHL Scoring

By Steve Palumbo
Photo by Yury Kuzmin/KHL

New Jersey Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is having fun playing hockey in the Kontinental Hockey League during the NHL owners’ lockout and at the same time making me miss hockey here even more.

Since joining SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s premier hockey league, Kovalchuk has been tearing up the score sheet. Kovalchuk is tied for tenth in KHL scoring, only four points behind league leader Alexander Radulov and he has done it in half as many games. The 29-year-old Russian native has five goals and 10 assist through his first eight games. Radulov has 19 points (7g 12a) in 16 games. Oh, and get this…Kovalchuk is a plus-9. Eat your heart out Zach Parise.

It was a week ago that Kovalchuk scored three times to help SKA rally from a two-goal deficit for a 4-2 victory over CSKA Moscow. It was the future Devils’ captain’s first KHL hat trick and he hasn’t slowed down since.

The lockout is just over a month old and negotiations are not moving fast enough for my liking. While I can appreciate that Kovalchuk is playing well and having fun in Russia, the bottom line is he should be here leading the Devils into a new season. I am anxious to see how he responds to being the go-to-guy now that Parise is gone. If Kovy reaches anywhere near the level he’s playing with SKA than New Jersey fans could finally get to see the real Kovalchuk, the 40-goal guy from the Atlanta Thrashers. Plus, it makes me sick to see him in New York Rangers colors.

On another note, did anybody else get a good chuckle watching Ilya Bryzgalov getting burned by Kovalchuk over and over again? Yeah, me too.

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