Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk unsure of returning to NHL

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

New York City, NY, United States (4E Sports) – New Jersey Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk expressed concern to the NHLPA about returning to the NHL, with escrow being the key issue.

A part of NHL salaries are withheld throughout the season, and only when a final cut has been established for owners and players will escrow checks be distributed. How escrow is handled was a big sticking point in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Kovalchuk is currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

The NHL and NHLPA reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement Sunday, prompting several players overseas to return for training camps.

The NHL and KHL have an internal memorandum of agreement, which indicates that all NHL players under contract who play overseas during the lockout must return once the lockout ends.

Other players such a Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who plays for Slovan Bratislava in the KHL, is staying in Russia for family and personal reasons.

The Devils inked Kovalchuk to a 15-year, $100 million contract in 2010 and could void the deal should he not report when camp opens.

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