You know what's crazier than the fact that Ilya Kovalchuk, after yet another summer of nauseating unnecessary deliberation, decided to run from a return to the states on the most American day of the year? The fact that I can't place it outside the realm of possibility that he set the whole goddamn thing up as an epic troll job to the NHL that was designed at getting the KHL to streamline (almost literally) their entire net worth to his bank account.
Obviously I'm being (at least mildly) facetious. However, I think we can all agree that there truly isn't any amount of two-faced selfishness and greed that can be out past the guy that fled the country 3 years into a 15 year deal only to attempt returning four years older thinking he was worthy of the nearly the same exact cap hit...
As much as I wanted the Devils to recoup something in exchange for what was a devastatingly costly contract even before it went unfulfilled, I'm glad that this soap opera has finally reached a series finale that was more anticipated than the day 'The Big Bang Theory' gets taken behind the proverbial barn and mercifully shot in the head. Not just because I'm tired of hearing about a 34 year old Russian that's more fickle than a teenage girl trying to stay under budget in her like totally favorite store in the mall, but because the concept of being a Kovalchuk apologist can officially rot in pieces.
I don't care if his departure ultimately saved the New Jersey Devils from salary cap purgatory, because this awfully familiar "will he, won't he" routine that reached an eerily similar conclusion is proof positive that the person behind it is incapable of doing anyone any favors. A 3 year, 6.5 million per demand from someone that's been playing in a league that's less mindful of it's players than one that encourages you to drink beer in the locker room prior to games? That's about as valuable in an exchange as the rubles he's currently being paid with.
Hell, even if the previous report that Ray Shero enabled or encouraged his decision by playing hardball is true, I'm still putting the onus on the entitled mercenary that's never felt loyalty to anyone but himself. If that means I value years of spite over whatever steaming piles of dog shit teams were willing to offer to take on a hefty long term deal for a relatively unknown quantity then so be it. Personally, I think the right to tell Ilya Kovalchuk to go fuck himself and letting him become someone else's incredibly high maintenance problem was more important to the Devils' organization and their fans than getting bent over the barrel and being forcefully fucked into accepting a 4th round pick for him. I'd rather this franchise miss out on a middling asset than yet again be made to look like assholes by the guy that has hammered and sickled home the message that he's insufferable narcissistic. Especially since it allows my unbridled hate for him to go uncompromised.