MOSCOW — Former NHL forward Ilya Kovalchuk says he wants to return to the league this summer and play there for “several more years.”
Kovalchuk told Russian state sports channel Match TV that if he doesn’t try again to win a Stanley Cup, “I won’t forgive myself for it when I get older.”
Kovalchuk, who won the Olympic gold medal last month, says he’s focused on winning the Kontinental Hockey League with SKA St. Petersburg, “but in the summer I’m going to examine offers” from the NHL.
He adds that he wants to match Russian teammate Pavel Datsyuk as a member of the so-called triple gold club of players who have won the Olympic gold medal, world championship, and Stanley Cup.
Kovalchuk walked out on the New Jersey Devils in 2013 to return to Russia, where he has since won two KHL titles.
He scored 417 goals and 816 points over 816 career NHL games, plus 27 points in 32 playoff games. The bulk of those playoff totals came with the Devils in 2011-12, when New Jersey lost the Stanley Cup final in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.