Update:  Ilya Kovalchuk reportedly told R-Sport that he is waiting for the official announcement of the CBA.

He said he is still playing in the KHL now to “stay in shape.” It also probably doesn’t hurt that he continues to earn his salary from SKA St. Petersburg for remaining active with the team. Now once the deal is done, the NHL will wait for word of his KHL release.

January 8th: Lubomir Visnovsky may not be the only NHLer looking to remain overseas for the duration of 2012-13. Word has it Ilya Kovalchuk is leaning towards staying with SKA Saint Petersburg instead of re-joining the New Jersey Devils.

Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger cautions against blowing this tidbit out of proportion. “Kovalchuk remains in Russia and is playing today for SKA St. Petersburg, but both the Devils and NHL expect he will return to NJ.”

And, again, Bill Daly the deputy commissioner of the NHL suggests such potential defections won’t be handled lightly.

“There is an agreement (between the NHL and KHL to honor each other’s contracts). I expect that it will be honored.”

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