Kovalchuk was sixth in the NHL during the 2011-12 season with 37 goals and fifth with 83 points, and had 19 points in 23 games to help the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final, despite playing through a back injury.
A native of Tver, Russia, Kovalchuk played for Spartak Moscow before he was chosen by the Atlanta Thrashers with the first pick of the 2001 NHL Draft.
There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.
— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury