Originally written on Kukla's Korner  |  Last updated 11/19/14

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Brian Rolston (L) of the New Jersey Devils scores a power play goal at 7:44 of the second period and is greeted by Ilya Kovalchuk in their game against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on October 1, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Post's Larry Brooks posits a, "It was the lockout" theory regarding the reasons behind Ilya Kovalchuk's decision to retire from the Devils and return to Russia, and he also drops something of a bombshell regarding the intentions of several Russian superstars who ended up playing for their respective NHL teams during the 2013 season along the way: It is hypothetical, of course, but the chances are remote Kovalchuk would have left the Devils for Russia if not for the lockout, given the fact the winger endured a circumvention hearing, a nullified contract and the threat of yet another circumvention hearing during the summer of 2010 when the KHL beckoned, offering far more than the $100 million on the table in New Jersey. On Jan. 4, the day before the marathon negotiating session commenced that would lead to settlement of the lockout in the wee hours of Jan. 6, the NHLPA dissuaded Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin from issuing a joint s...
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