Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 5/30/12
Two summers ago, Ilya Kovalchuk was the biggest prize on the NHL free-agent market, and the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings went head to head for his services -- a battle the Devils eventually won when they signed the superstar left-winger to a 15-year, $100 million contract. These days, it would seem Kovalchuk made the right call, with his team now four wins away from the Stanley Cup after a bruising Eastern Conference run that was largely precipitated by his dazzling play. But it's nothing if not fitting that the road to the first championship of Kovalchuk's 10-year career goes right through L.A. and the franchise he spurned in 2010. The Devils open the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at home against the Kings, and Kovalchuk would be lying if he said that beating the team he nearly signed with wouldn't make lifting the Cup even sweeter. "Yeah," Kovalchuk admitted, reluctantly, Tuesday when asked whether playing the Kings gave him any extra motivation to win. "But the Sta...
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