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.

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What do you think of Ilya Kovalchuk leaving $77 million on the table to return to Russia?

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    36%
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    64%

Discuss (Total votes: 59,406)


Bigger stunner?

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.

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Whose early retirement was more surprising?

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    25%
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    75%

Discuss (Total votes: 37,198)


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 ...

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Will Ilya Kovalchuk ever return to the NHL?

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    40%
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    60%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,912)


Devils do care

New Jersey lost Zach Parise after 2012, missed the playoffs last season, and now watch another talented player walk away.

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Is Ilya Kovalchuk's retirement -- and leaving of $77 million on the table -- fair to the Devils?

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    34%
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    66%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,648)


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.

SportsNation

What do you think of the prevalence of 10-plus-year contracts in the NHL?

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    11%
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    71%
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    18%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,633)

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