The headline is pretty straight forward. Ilya Kovalchuk will carry a heavy load for the New Jersey Devils in the upcoming 2013 season. Before getting into what would otherwise be a brief point, I'd want to emphasize that Kovalchuk will play for the New Jersey Devils in 2013. Yesterday, there were all kinds of articles by Tom Gulitti, Rich Chere, ESPN, TSN, Puck Daddy, and ProHockeyTalk among others questioning Kovalchuk's return based on sources, rumors, and Kovalchuk not saying "I'm totally coming back" when asked. Rather, the headlines were setting the question while the article - like all of the linked ones in that previous sentence - that pointed the facts that would seemingly prevent Kovalchuk to stay with SKA St. Petersburg. If you read them, then you already know this and understand there isn't any cause for concern. For those who just read the headlines and freaked out, then follow this aside that will segue back to the main point.

Staying with his KHL club may not even be an actual option as his KHL club. The KHL contracts signed by NHL players all have escape clauses, requiring them to return to their NHL teams when the lockout ends as part of their transfer agreement. I highly doubt the NHL or the KHL are going to blow up their agreement over that, regardless of what SKA wants or what Dmitry Medvedev says. The IIHF certainly would have to get involved for any violations of the transfer agreement and they could conceivably punish violators through bans of international play. I highly doubt Kovalchuk, who regularly represents his nation in international play when he can, would want to take that risk.