Ilya Kovalchuk’s rough 2015-16 season just got a little worse.
According to Sport Express, the former Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy-winner has been stripped of his captaincy and will be benched from SKA St. Petersburg’s lineup for games three and four of their first round playoff series against Lokomotiv.
Kovalchuk played the first game of the series which Lokomotiv won 3-2 in overtime. Kovalchuk had no points and was a minus-2 with one shot on goal. He also led his team in ice time, playing 24:26, leading to him being a scratch for game two.
He was expected to sit out just the one game, but with SKA winning and evening the series, head coach Sergei Zubov has apparently decided his team will be better off without Kovalchuk for the next two games.
The 32-year-old still has one more season remaining on his contract with St. Petersburg signed in July 2013.