It has been a while since my last update here, but such is life during the offseason. Earlier today, on NHL.com, Mike Morreale published an article that I thought was interesting. It set the record straight on just what is going on with Ilya Kovalchuk and his National Hockey League return.
Devils general manager Ray Shero told Morreale that “Kovalchuk kind of drives the bus on this in terms of talking to teams or where he could want to play.” Shero said that, while he could change his mind, “Right now nothing, according to [Grossman], has changed and he would like to pursue [NHL] opportunities.” Grossman is, of course, Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman, who Shero told Morreale he spoke to this past Wednesday.
The interesting thing to take away from Morreale’s article is that Kovalchuk needs permission from all 31 NHL teams if he wants to return before his 35th birthday and sign anywhere he wanted to, since he was put on the voluntarily retired list when he retired from the NHL on July 11, 2013. He signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg on July 15, 2013 in one of the more shocking moves of players between the NHL and KHL.
Kovalchuk turns 35 on April 15, 2018 according to Morreale. Until then, the Devils would own his NHL rights and would have to sign him and either trade him or keep him. Morreale also stresses that Kovalchuk cannot sign with the Devils until July 1 and is not eligible for the Expansion Draft for the Vegas Golden Knights. Shero told him that a sign-and-trade “has to make sense for the Devils.”
Shero told Morreale that while he assumes Kovalchuk’s NHL return to still be the plan, he “is not holding his breath waiting for him to make a decision.
So, at the moment, Kovalchuk seems ready to return from Russia, but that could change at any moment. Also, he may or may not end up a member of the Devils. Stay tuned as we will see where this is headed come July 1.
In other news closer to home, today’s edition of The Coast Star, a local weekly Jersey Shore newspaper, had an article written by George Woolston that said that Ken Daneyko and mascot NJ Devil will be appearing locally to sign autographs and meet fans for a good cause. The meet and greet will happen at Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company in Spring Lake on Saturday, June 10 from 2 PM to 4 PM.
The person they are helping is Chris J. Nolze of Toms River. Mr. Nolze was diagnosed with brain cancer five years ago and has also battled a brain tumor, trigeminal neuralgia and dystonia. According to Woolston’s article, Chris has undergone many operations and people have been very generous with and towards him during these trying times. In turn, he wanted to give back by starting the Chris’s Fight For a Cure Foundation. Woolston said that this foundation strives to “conquer illness and support those in need.”
The foundation awards a $100 scholarship each year “to an eighth grader at Toms River Intermediate South School.”
Trinity Financial will be selling sports memorabilia at the event in order to raise money for Chris and his medical bills. The event will be free to the public. According to the newspaper article, the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free Ken Daneyko photo.
This is a really good event and the kind that the Devils continue to be involved with. It is wonderful to see alumni and current players get involved with the charitable end of being a pro hockey player and really give back to the community here in New Jersey. If you are in the area and can make it, it is June 10 (a Saturday) from 2 PM to 4 PM at Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company at 219 Morris Avenue in Spring Lake.