The wound inflicted by Ilya Kovalchuk on the fans of the New Jersey Devils is still very fresh, so it is hard to say how they will feel toward him in five or ten years.
Right now, however, it's safe to say that Kovalchuk is as universally hated by Devils fans as anyone ever was.
This summer, in the midst of general manager Lou Lamoriello's revamping effort to get the Devils back into the playoffs, Ilya Kovalchuk decided to retire from the NHL to go back to Russia.
This selfish decision, while financially helping the Devils in the future, hurts them on several different levels.
First and foremost, Kovalchuk was the best player on the team. He was the Devils' best offensive weapon and special teams player. Aside from his skill set, he ate up ice time, averaging an astounding 25 minutes per game in 2013.
His departure leaves a tremendous void in the 2014 roster.
While Scott Gomez's departure may have hurt the fans' feelings, Kovy's actually hurts the team as a whole.
Kovalchuk also differs from Gomez in that Gomez did not do anything that can be considered ethically wrong. He honored his contract with the Devils and left for their biggest rivals.
It might upset the fanbase, but it happens often enough in every sport.
Kovalchuk, on the other hand, retired from the NHL in the prime of his career.
Worse still, he left with 12 years remaining on his contract. While the Devils won't mind the $80 million in savings they got, they had planned the future of the franchise with Kovalchuk in mind.
In 2010, they traded Johnny Oduya (Cup winner with Chicago) and a first-round pick for Kovalchuk. Later that year, they lost another first-round pick and a third-round pick for trying to circumvent the salary cap to give Kovalchuk his huge deal.
Many fans also argue that if it wasn't for Kovalchuk's massive contract, Lou Lamoriello would have had a better chance of re-signing Zach Parise, who left as a UFA for Minnesota in 2012.
And still, Kovalchuk's talent made it all seem worth keeping him in New Jersey, at least in the minds of most.
Kovalchuk's retirement, however, means that everything the Devils gave up will have been for nothing, and it is hard to ever see the Devils fans forgive him for that.