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Ilya Kovalchuk Benching: MacLean Offers No Explanation

New Jersey Devils coach John MacLean offered no insight after the game into his decision to scratch $100 million free-agent acquisition Ilya Kovalchuk from the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

“That’s between him and I,” said Devils coach John MacLean regarding the omission of Kovalchuk from the lineup.

“It was my decision. I spoke with him, and that’s where it’s going to stay.”

The team was advised of the move as they arrived for the game in the late afternoon.

“Yeah, real surprised,” Zach Parise said. “We don’t know anything about it but I think we were all surprised.”

“I’d love to give you some insight; we don’t know what is going on,” team captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “You have to ask the guys that make those decisions and have control. We really don’t know.”

When asked if Kovalchuk would be in the lineup on Sunday against the New York Rangers, MacLean was non-committal indicating he would make a decision on Sunday morning.

Kovalchuck has two goals and three assists in seven games for New Jersey.