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Kovalchuk Facing Criticism as Devils Flounder

When you just signed a $100-million contract and your team stinks, I guess you should expect to have people start firing barbs your way. Such is life right now for Ilya Kovalchuk, the $100-million man for the 3-9-1 New Jersey Devils, who are apparently in disarray.

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Former Devil Bobby Holik has now gone on record saying that rookie coach John MacLean is not alone in the blame for the Devils' awful start.

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"I think he's in a very tough spot," Holik said. "Maybe I called for some coaches to be fired from the past. I would not … not comment on (if I would fire him). He was put in a tough spot by management signing Ilya Kovalchuk for such a long term deal."

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Kovalchuk has just three goals and three assists so far this season, and he was a healthy scratch on Oct. 23 against Buffalo. Kovalchuk signed a 15-year contract with the Devils this offseason for $100 million.

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Holik also doesn't think longtime Devils' GM Lou Lamoriello - who won two Stanley Cups with Holik on the roster - would make such a long-term commitment to a player.

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"I don't know if it was all Lou's doing, times (are) changing … he may have a little less say about what direction the organization is going," Holik told Off The Record.  "And obviously they are trying ... they are still in the process of going in a different direction."

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Ah, fun times in the swamps of Jersey.

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