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Ilya Kovalchuk 'not in a hurry' to leave KHL

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Ilya Kovalchuk states he is not in a hurry to leave the KHL and that he wants to play in the league's All-Star Game.

Martin Rose

New Jersey Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk isn't in any hurry to return home.

Following a day full of rumors in North America, Kovalchuk stated that he isn't in any rush to return to the United States and that time will tell if he decides to leave Russia's Kontinental Hockey League at all, according to Slava Malamud of Sports-Express on Tuesday afternoon.

Currently acting as the captain of SKA Saint Petersburg, Kovalchuk stated that he wants to read the new collective bargaining agreement before deciding if he will return to the NHL.

However, the NHL and KHL have a memorandum of understanding that states that the two leagues will respect each other's contracts. This means they won't employ a player who is currently under contract with the other league. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has already received confirmation from the KHL that the league plans to honor this agreement.

While it remains unclear what the outcome will be, Kovalchuk stated that he wishes to play in the KHL's All-Star Game (which will be held at the Traktor Sport Palace on Jan. 13), and that he will request permission from the KHL's deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev to do so.

As of Tuesday afternoon, it is believed that Jan. 13 will be the start of NHL training camps.