"If NJ had so chosen, it could've blocked Kovalchuk from the KHL by tolling contract. But NJ isn't doing that, he's free to go to KHL."
Well, we don't know what goes on behind the scenes so let's not pass judgement on Kovy just yet. He is free to do what he wants. It was obvious that something "didn't add up" when the guy misses a good chunk of the last 40 days of the season or with a shoulder injury, yet he runs to go play in the World Championships a week or so later.
It's a rough day, yes, because there aren't too many players in the NHL of Kovy's level. The Devils and the NHL are losers today.