After all the drama, Ilya Kovalchuk has re-signed with the New Jersey Devils. And you know what? I actually feel a little pity for the team.
That their attendance woes are such that Lou Lamoriello felt that he had to bring back the Russian sniper is just sad. Kovalchuk is the red hot sportscar, the Lambo that goes fast and turns heads. But it can't deal with the potholes and inclement weather of the NHL season and will never pull into the great parking lot Stanley Cup parade.
I guess Devil ownership pressured Lamoriello to fill their still relatively new building night after night because the usually shrewd GM can't have wanted this. Kovy has folded in each of the (few) high pressure situations he has been in - the two playoffs and the Olympics. He is all flash and little substance - a complete opposite from the usual Devil. But he can score some sexy goals and might be able to bring back the few fairweather fans who follow hockey in Jersey and can't/won't make it to the Garden.
For Kovalchuk, it is a great deal, he makes money and has no pressure. He will be at least fifth on the pecking order behind Mmmmaaarrrrtttyyyy, Parise, Elias and new coach Johnny Mac (Lou reigns over all and doesn't count on the ladder of accounability). Kovy can head to Brighton Beach whenever he wants, enjoy the lights and sounds of New York without any of the pressures that come with it or the city taxes. And if the rumours that the deal is really for 17 years, well, that is just comical on all fronts.
For a Ranger fan, of course, I have no issues with the Devils strangling themselves like that. As for when Kovy steps on the ice against the Blueshirts, sure he is a career 19-14-2-1 (1 being a pre-lockout tie) against the Rangers but he is also the author of such monumental moments as this, this, this and, awesomely, this. Let's hope that the new chapter of Kovy's career is filled with all of that and more.