Devils left winger Ilya Kovalchuk isn't quite ready for a starring role on the hit TV reality show "Jersey Shore"' along with Snooki and the gang, but he says life in New Jersey fits him and his family just fine. In fact, he recently bought several acres in Alpine and is planning to build a house for his wife Nicole, and three young children - Karolina, 5, Philipp, 2, and Artem, who turns 1 next month. It should be finished in another year and a half. He has an offseason home in Florida. Friday was the one-year anniversary of the trade that brought him from Atlanta to the Devils. Although the goals and victories haven't come as quickly as Kovalchuk would like, there's plenty of time for that with 14 years remaining on his lifetime 15-year, $100-million contract. "I'm very happy to be here," Kovalchuk said Saturday after practice at the AmeriHealth Pavilion. "There are some nice areas here in Jersey and some great schools for the kids. ? I'm renting a place right now and it's close to the rink and (New York) City. "But I came here to play hockey. I want to be more successful and help this team because when you're winning, that's when the fun starts." Kovalchuk, 27, is in the midst of his worst statistical season as a pro, with just 15 goals and 17 assists in 51 games and an embarrassing minus-26 plus-minus ratio. His career-low is 29 goals in his rookie season with the Thrashers. He has scored at least 40 goals in each of the last six seasons. His latest lowlight came in Friday night's 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers at the Prudential Center when his giveaway turned into a tying shorthanded goal midway through the third period.
Ilya Kovalchuk now firmly a Jersey guy, but wants to improve his play here
Newark Star-Ledger | Feb 6