Ilya Kovalchuk wants to stay in KHL for remainder of 2012-13, according to report

Bruce Bennett

New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk wants to remain in Russia for the duration of the 2012-13 season.

The Ilya Kovalchuk situation seems to get more convoluted the closer the lockout's resolution becomes.

After explaining that he was in no rush to return to the NHL, Kovalchuk stated on Thursday that he would prefer to finish out the 2012-13 season with SKA Saint Petersburg of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League instead of returning to the NHL.

However, the forward does not believe that there is any way for him to get out of his contractual agreement with the New Jersey Devils, translation via the twitter feed of Slava Malamud:

"I want to stay in St. Petersburg but I have contractual obligations in the NHL, which will be hard to break. Right now, I can't imagine how (my staying in the KHL) can be arranged... But I don't know anything yet."

Kovalchuk has been vocal in his indecision to return to North America.

On Tuesday, he stated that he would need to read the new collective bargaining agreement before deciding whether to rejoin the Devils. Later in the day, he further fanned the flames by proclaiming that time would tell if he would return to the NHL and that nothing had been ruled out yet.

In addition, he requested permission from KHL deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev to play in the league's All-Star Game on Jan. 13.

Through the whole situation, the Devils remained consistent that Kovalchuk had yet to contact them.

It now appears as though the disgruntled star will be returning to North America regardless of his preference. At the same time, there has been talk that the KHL and the ownership of SKA are attempting to do whatever they can to retain Kovalchuk.

Until Kovalchuk is back on United States' soil, it seems this story is to be continued.

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