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Fans go Kovy-crazy on Facebook, Twitter

Devils Army reacts to Kovalchuk contract approval

Saturday, 09.4.2010 / 3:05 AM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Fans go Kovy-crazy on Facebook, Twitter
Kovy's primed to be larger-than-life in Garden State.
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You can finally exhale. Ilya Kovalchuk is a New Jersey Devil for life.

Reports confirmed Friday afternoon what every Devils fan had been waiting to hear: that the second attempt to sign the Russian superstar had succeeded. The news ended a summer saga with gut-wrenching twists and turns, rejections and grievances.

The new long-term deal was approved by the National Hockey League following an agreement with the Players’ Association to adopt regulations to govern long-term contracts of five years or more.

TSN reported shortly before 3 p.m. ET that the deal had gotten the go-ahead. That was just hours before the 5 p.m. deadline, which was pushed back first to 7 p.m., then nearly every hour until 3 a.m. ET Saturday morning, when NHL.com reported that Kovalchuk's deal had officially been registered.

Devils fans had reacted to Friday's reports with exhiliration – and relief.

"Congrats to the @NHLDevils! Cup-It-Up, boys!" tweeted film director and Devils fanatic Kevin Smith (@ThatKevinSmith). Twitter user @ATKim00 wrote, “Welcome home Kovalchuk!!”

“Amen...it is done....The END!” added @TheProgramBTR.

They were thrilled to know that one of the NHL’s most exciting players will be a permanent fixture in New Jersey for seasons to come. “Wooooo Kovalchuk is approved!!” exclaimed Twitter user @LaLoo1620.

There was plenty of Kovy love on Facebook, too. User Simon Rother posted, “A deal with the Devil! Woohoo, Kovy! I'm officially a Devils' fan because of you, now!”

The Devils open the 2010-11 regular season at home against Dallas on Friday, Oct. 8. Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 10. Expect to see a lot more No. 17 sweaters around the Rock.

“And now I will order my Ilya Kovalchuk jersey. It's a good day to be a @NHLDevils fan!” posted Twitterer @David_E_Wood. On Facebook, Nicholas Chambers posted, “Kovalchuk jerseys to be ordered. Pop the champagne it's over!!!!!!!! We got him for life!!!!!”

Kovalchuk arrived via trade from Atlanta on Feb. 4 and potted 10 goals and 17 assists over the remaining 27 games of last season. He added two goals and four assists in the playoffs, when the Devils bowed out to Philadelphia in five. It was hard not to wonder what he might accomplish over a full season with the two-time defending Atlantic Division champions.

On July 1, the 27-year-old became a coveted unrestricted free agent: Who wouldn’t want a two-time 50-goal scorer with 40-or-more in six straight campaigns? Kovalchuk's scoring prowess has been unmatched since his rookie season of 2001-02, and no one over that span has collected more goals (338).

Though at least one other team entered the mix, there was joy in Jersey on July 19, when the Devils announced they had gotten their man. A July 20 press conference at Prudential Center welcomed Kovalchuk back. The NHL rejected the deal the next day on the grounds that it circumvented the salary cap. The NHLPA filed a grievance, but an arbitrator upheld the League’s ruling on Aug. 9.

The second deal was signed on Aug. 27 and registered with little time to waste – rookies report to training camp on Sept. 13; veterans report for physicals on Sept. 17.

The Devils begin the preseason with road games versus the Flyers (Sept. 21) and Rangers (Sept. 25), before coming home to face the Rangers on Saturday, Sept. 25.

With just over a month to go before the new season, it's almost time to start the show.

"Alright, let's get this roster in order and do some damage this year!" wrote Facebook user Myke Rivera. "The best baby! Let's Go Devils!"

Follow the Devils on Twitter (@NHLDevils) and on Facebook (facebook.com/newjerseydevils).

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 70 16 25 -3 41
M. Cammalleri 63 27 13 3 40
P. Elias 64 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 53 7 24 -8 31
S. Bernier 62 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 69 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 59 3 20 3 23
A. Greene 77 3 18 2 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 57 6 12 -3 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 9 .927 2.20
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47