Kovalchuk wouldn't confirm his other suitors, but one was definitely the Los Angeles Kings. He went on what amounted to a college-style recruiting visit to L.A. last week with his wife, Nicole, who had never been there before.
"Nobody put any timing on me, so I decided to take my time, to go there (to L.A.), met the general manager, a couple of guys on the team and that only helped me to make my decision," he said. "I don't know what I learned, but that's how it should be. When you agree to stay with a team for the rest of your career, you want to be 110 percent sure you're making the right decision."
Kovalchuk made his decision upon returning from Los Angeles, and he firmly believes he will play out his entire 17-year contract even if, as he said, it means upping his training regimen in say 10 years, when he'll be 37 years old.
"It wasn't really about money," he said. "It was more where are you going to spend the rest of your hockey life, but after that, when you spend that kind of time in a city you may stay there for the rest of your life. That was the main concern for us, what kind of area is here and what kind of schools are here. I have three kids. It's really all about the family."