In a shocking move, New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk -- widely considered one of the best players in the NHL -- is foregoing from the last 12 years and $77 million of his contract to return to his native Russia. It's a stunning decision from the 30-year-old, and one that leaves the Devils scrambling. What do you make of it?
What the ... ?
What could possess Kovalchuk to give up all that money? Location and family, he says.
The enigmatic Barry Sanders walked away at the age of 31, after rushing for 1,491 yards in 1998. Kovalchuk, meanwhile, leaves the Devils short a superstar.
Seen the last of him?
Kovalchuk isn't leaving hockey; he says he will play in the KHL next season. And he wouldn't be the first athlete to go back on his retirement word ...
Devils do care
New Jersey lost Zach Parise after 2012, missed the playoffs last season, and now watch another talented player walk away.
In for the long haul?
Kovalchuk signed a 15-year contract in 2010, and is far from the only hockey player to agree to a decade-spanning deal.