The lockout is over! Let us all rejoice. Of course, because nothing is simple in the treacherous landscape of the NHL, there are all kinds of problems associated with ratifying the new CBA, making new schedules, opening training camps, and dragging Russians back to their teams.
Yes, this is actually a point of contention. Why does it pertain to us, my fellow Devils fans? Because our very-likely candidate for next captain Ilya Kovalchuk is still overseas and not heading back home on a plane immediately. Because Kovalchuk is still playing games for his KHL team, CKA St. Petersburg. Because Kovalchuk is showing reservation until the new deal is set in stone and freshly signed with ink.
And I don’t blame him.
There’s still almost a week before training camps open on Sunday. If he can play in one more game and stay in top form, all the better for us. If he needs to read the details of the new CBA, fine. Most players will be doing that in the few upcoming days in which they have to electronically vote to approve it. Nothing makes Kovalchuk’s decision to not immediately head to New Jersey different to anybody else’s. The only difference, of course, is the media attention and boundless rumors being floated around by said media.
In any case, Lou Lamoriello and the Devils have said that they have no reason to believe that Ilya Kovalchuk will not be showing up to camp on Sunday. We’ll go with that.
Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts column is always an interesting read. In the most recent edition, Friedman floated an interesting idea: that Lou Lamoriello’s blunt labeling of the lockout as ‘embarrassing’ served as encouragement for others to do the same.
Friedman writes, “Don’t want to do a ton of lockout stuff, but thought it was telling to see how much the word “embarrassing” or “embarrassed” was seen after Lou Lamoriello used it in describing the shutdown to The Newark Star-Ledger. Heard it from both Eric Staal and Andy McDonald. Almost as if others felt more free to be honest after someone of Lamoriello’s stature did it.”