Despite a tumultuous and controversial summer, Ilya Kovalchuk cannot be dissuaded from having vision of silver — namely a Stanley Cup — dancing in his head now that he is a New Jersey Devil for the next 15 years.
“The expectation is different, that’s for sure,” Kovalchuk said upon joining the Devils last season. “I don’t want to just be in the playoffs. That’s not my goal. You want to win and I think everyone in this locker room is on the same page so that’s very important.”
Kovalchuk, the most prized free agent available during the summer, returned to New Jersey, where he had been traded during the 2009-10 season. Not that the process was easy. Once contract terms were agreed to by player and team, the contract did not meet League requirements, so it was back to the drawing board. With that obstacle cleared, Kovalchuk now can concentrate on helping New Jersey become a four-time Stanley Cup champion.