lou had a part in it, but it just shows how much kovie meant to their franchise. for him to bail on them now is a slap in the face to the devils
kovie can hide behind the family excuse all he wants but imo this comes down to money. he will probably get 15-20 million a year tax free in the khl. he will easily surpass his nhl contract money in a few years. He shouldn't have signed such a long term contract if he had concerns about being close to his family
he shouldn't have come back to the nhl at all if that was his attitude.
A part in it? He's the GM. He put together the deal. And losing the pick and getting fined is 100% on Lou. He runs the team. Not Kovalchuk.
And how is it hiding behind the family excuse? How could you possibly know his real motives? If I had to pick one, the more believable scenario, which is the one he described, is that in the lockout shortened season he realized how much he liked being back in Russia around family.
Overall this sounds like the a mutually beneficial decision. Kovaluchuk goes to Russia to be with family and play hockey there, Lou gets out of the terrible contract he gave him.
Kovalchuk is a great player but the franchise is now free of what was a potentially crippling contract under the lowered cap. I don't know what their current financial situation is but the Devils have had trouble paying their bills the last several seasons. They owed Kovalchuk over $11 million dollars a year for the next 4 years.
The guy left $77 million on the table. Sure he may eventually make that in the KHL but he had a guaranteed contract for that amount. That's a lot different than the potential earnings.
If anything I could see faulting him for the timing of the retirement. It's certainly going to leave a huge hole in their lineup. But in the long term walking away from his contract could be the best thing that happened to the Devils.