Ilya Kovalchuk “retired” from the NHL Thursday – the news that shook the entire hockey world. SKA St. Petersburg, the KHL club Kovalchuk played for during this last NHL lockout, was expected to make a “big announcement” on Thursday. But didn’t. It is now obvious what that announcement was going to be – Kovalchuk was going to sign with the club. The champagne will be kept on ice at least until Monday, it appears. SKA promptly denied reports that Kovalchuk may have signed a contract with the team before he returned to the NHL in January.