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Reports: Ilya Kovalchuk Sets a Deadline, May Play in Russia

Ilya Kovalchuk is, of course, still a free agent, but the plot has thickened: Puck Daddy reports that if the NHL doesn't approve any of the contract proposals the Devils have informally submitted, the left winger may play next season in Russia. The Post, meanwhile, reports that he's set a deadline of this weekend to finalize an approved deal with the Devils. Indeed, KHL president Alexander Medvedev announced this week that he'd spoken with Kovalchuk's camp, and Kovalchuk's Russian agent confirmed that he'd been in touch with SKA St. Petersburg, who'd been one of the bidders (offering a reported salary of up to $10 million a season) when Kovalchuk became became a free agent (the first time) almost two months ago. This could just be a negotiating ploy, but if not, this saga could finally, mercifully be over soon — if not necessarily with the result Devils fans are hoping for. [Puck Daddy/Yahoo, NYP]

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images