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Kovalchuk back with Devils from Russia

The SportsXchange

New Jersey Devils leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the team Wednesday after staying in Russia to play in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday.

Kovalchuk missed the start of training camp on Sunday after the four-month lockout ended Saturday. He was supposed to be with the Devils, but the team gave him a pass because he wanted to participate in the all-star game, The Star-Ledger reported. His absence didn't violate a 15-year-, $100 million contract he signed in 2010.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer welcomed Kovalchuk's return.

"When he's on the ice, the other team is on their heels and aware," DeBoer said. "It's not even what he does individually, it's the subtle plays he makes that creates offense for other guys down the ice. He generates a lot of our offensive opportunities. It's going to be nice to see him back out here."

Kovalchuk arrived in the United States on Tuesday and settled his family before reporting to the Devils.

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