Ilya Kovalchuk Is Returning To New Jersey Just In Time For Me To Not Give A Damn About Ilya Kovalchuk Returning To New Jersey
I say the following knowing full well that Ilya Kovalchuk will inevitably be taking the ice in what will basically be an aviary of full-bellied boo-birds who are eager to give no shortage of shit to a player who put them through the ringer before resorting to early "retirement". I personally no longer care enough about a self-involved (former) superstar whose bang no longer matches his buck to offer him the self-satisfaction of my ire.
Travis Zajac's thoughts on the matter were meant to be as classy and complimentary as you'd expect, but if it's true that you don't boo nobodies than nobody should say boo to someone whose impact is no longer worthy of the attention he's always been desperate in seeking. It feels weird saying as much, because I maintained a pretty explicit opinion each annual time in which Ilya Kovalchuk used a potential NHL return for financial leverage. However, now that he has returned to the NHL in relatively underwhelming fashion, I'd rather not pay the most money-hungry of mercenaries any mind. The instinctual reaction to being scorned by an athlete is booing the holy hell out of them, but - to a narcissist the likes of Kovy - apathy is the weapon that cuts the deepest. Assuming he has feelings at all, nothing hurts more to a King than being treated like a peasant.
As has been covered ad nauseam, the organization was lucky to get out from under a boulder of a contract that Ilya Kovalchuk counterproductively demanded be franchise-crippling when they did. Still, if the gut punch he delivered Devils' fans after the much more respectable departure of Zach Parise didn't wash away all the good-will he built up throughout the Finals run of 2012 then waiting until New Jersey couldn't benefit from his return before making it certainly did.
For that reason, I don't expect too many fans to follow my lead in treating #17 like he's just some defensive liability who is a -17 (which he is, for the record). However, it sure would be fitting to show a familiar type of indifference to a dude who only cared about being a New Jersey Devil when it was convenient to both him and his bank account.