SovSport.ru coverage of signing Ilya Kovalchuk by SKA St. Petersburg has him saying this:
"I can share Alexander Ovechkin's words," says Ilya Kovalchuk. "If there will be a pay cut, we will seriously consider the option of moving permanently back to our homeland and play there."
Could it be a phone cenversation between the two? Who knows, but I don't believe Ovi was ever that adamant, at least not in the media.