The Los Angeles Kings are parading the Stanley Cup after their Game 6 victory on Monday; the first stop for the Cup was a bar in Hermosa Beach. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils had a decision of their own to make.
The Devils have revealed they will not forfeit their first-round selection in the NHL Entry Draft coming up in Pittsburgh on June 22. The decision stems from the penalty imposed by the NHL two years ago after New Jersey offered Ilya Kovalchuk a 17-year, $102-million contract in 2010; the big winger would eventually sign for 15 years and $100 million.
The NHL ruled the Devils must forfeit one of its top picks from any year between 2011 to 2014 as part of its penance; the club gets to choose which year, and it must let the league know by 5 p.m. Eastern time on the day after the Stanley Cup Final is completed (the league had also levied a $3-million fine).
While the Devils basically admitted liability in the matter, they also got themselves a keeper. Kovy certainly can’t be faulted for the way he gallantly played through pain in the playoffs; it couldn’t have been happy for him to be a step behind his opponents and seemingly unable to handle the heavier traffic. His bad back forced him to steer away from any contact, and he was nearly invisible in the playoffs as a result.
Instead of bemoaning his fate, though, Kovalchuk is choosing to see the happier side of life: he claimed that despite falling short of the Stanley Cup summit, the 2011-12 season was the “most successful” of his career. It’s easy to see why he would think that, given all his years spent as one of the original players (and one of the most recognizable figures) on the defunct Atlanta Thrashers. They made it to exactly one playoff series in their 10-year history, and were swept.
It’s better to fall two games short of the biggest prize on ice than almost never making it to the big dance in the first place, obviously.
And all is not so bad in Devil-Land. The team’s captain, Zach Parise, has already said that he wants to keep on wearing the red and black instead of being a Broadway Blueshirt or sporting the winged wheel of Detroit. Martin Brodeur may even stick around for another season in net even though he’s established himself long ago as one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game.
They might not be blowing chocolate-milk bubbles in the Stanley Cup, as Dustin Brown’s kids were doing, but there’s always next season.