Superstar forward llya Kovalchuk has to play for the New Jersey Devils once the NHL lockout is officially lifted.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday that the KHL reaffirmed its intention to honor an agreement with the NHL concerning contracts.
“They would not permit a player who is under a valid and binding NHL SPC (to) continue to play in the KHL once the lockout is officially lifted,” Daly said in an email to the Associated Press. “They have confirmed their intention to honor this agreement to us.”
Kovalchuk, who signed a 15-year, $100 million contract with New Jersey in 2010, played in a KHL game Tuesday. He told Russian media he was playing to stay in shape pending the end of the lockout. Neither Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk’s agent, nor Devils president and GM Lou Lamoriello immediately returned telephone calls left by the AP seeking comment.
NHL owners plan to vote on the new 10-year agreement today. Players vote on Thursday and Friday. If both sides ratify the agreement, the league has told teams to be ready to start the season Jan. 19.