Team Russia on Monday named its extended roster – minus NHL players, for now – for the IIHF World Championships that will take place in Minsk in May. Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the names on it. It wasn’t long, though, before Kovalchuk himself ruled himself out, announcing he will have a surgery on his knee in Germany later this week.
Kovalchuk got injured in Sochi in Team Russia’s final group game against Slovakia. He aggravated the injury in Russia’s next game against Norway.
At the time doctors knew that the injury was serious. Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport reports that team doctors even contacted his KHL club SKA to obtain permission for him to play against Finland. Kovalchuk himself insisted he should play saying, “Tell the coaching staff that I want to play. I am ready. And my leg is letting me, I can bend it.”
Kovalchuk scored Russia’s only goal against Finland in a 3-1 loss.
Kovalchuk played with the injured knee in the first two rounds of the KHL playoffs, which could explain his less than stellar performance. He had three goals and two assists in 10 games for SKA, which lost to No. 8 seed Lokomotiv.