Wow, what a class act; he really screwed over the Devils here. He cost them millions of dollars in fines, a first-round pick, and the chance to re-sign Parise, and now he jets almost a week after free agency began.
Kovalchuk cost them millions in fines and a 1st round pick? Lamoriello and the owner, who structured the backdiving deal, had no part in it?
Here's his statement on the Devils website (emphasis mine). Sounds like he's going back for family.
“This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia. Though I decided to return this past season, Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils, a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
After many conversations with Ilya over the past year on his desire to retire from the National Hockey League, Ilya’s decision became official today. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish Ilya and his family all the best in their future endeavors.