Kovalchuk on KHL: ‘I’m not going to the moon’

Ilya Kovalchuk: 'I am not going to Russia to start thinking about coming back to the NHL.' (AP/Jason DeCrow)

SKA St. Petersburg forward Ilya Kovalchuk has downplayed the claims of his sister, Ariana, who told Russian outlet mk.ru that her brother would like to return to the NHL after he plays at least three seasons overseas.

“I am not going to Russia to start thinking about coming back to the NHL,” the super sniper told journalist Pavel Lysenkov in an exclusive interview with Russia’s Sovietsy Sport. (The quote was translated by Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov.) “I’m happy I played in the best league in the world for so long. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the Cup. But I have no regrets.”

In the Russian-language interview, Kovalchuk said he has no regrets for retiring from the NHL and will be preparing to compete for his home country at the Sochi Games in 2014.

“I’m not going to the moon, China or Japan. I’m going home where my mother, sister, my friends live,” Kovalchuk told Lysenkov. “I’m more comfortable in Russia.”

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