Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички

Rambler's Top100

13 октября 2006 года. 
Kovalchuk quiet but contributing // The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Ilya Kovalchuk slammed his stick on the ice in disgust.

It was the kind of chance that he usually buries into the back of the net. However, late in the first period of Wednesday's game, a loose puck came to him in the slot from fairly close range and his shot hit a stick and caromed into the crowd.

He finished the game without a goal, as he did each of the Thrashers' previous three. For some players, going scoreless in four games is nothing to note, but Kovalchuk is perhaps the NHL's premier goal-scorer. He averaged two goals in every three games last season for a season-ending total of 52 in 78 games.

The difference so far this season is that Kovalchuk is not allowing it to affect other areas of his game. He is plus-3 and the Thrashers are 3-0-1 entering tonight's game at Philips Arena against defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina, which is winless in four games.

That's quite a contrast to 2003-04 when he had 10 goals in the first eight games, carrying the team to a franchise-record 4-1-2-1 start.

"As far as we're going to win, it's not a big deal," Kovalchuk said. "I don't think we'll start losing, but it's my job to score goals. I should keep working. I have my chance every night. For some reason, it didn't go in. It's OK, it's only four games. ... Last year, I didn't play the first three and I didn't score the first two. It's the same picture. But this year I'm plus-3 now. I'm playing much better defensively."

Because of Kovalchuk's defense – yes, defense, formerly an oxymoron when the word was placed next to his name — coach Bob Hartley is saying that Kovalchuk is playing his best hockey since Hartley's arrival in January 2003.

"He's working, he's hitting, he's back-checking," Hartley said. "He's getting chances, they're just not going in. He plays the way we need him to play. It's just a matter of time."

In the past, Kovalchuk might have tried to force the issue. He would have gone 1-on-2 or

1-on-3 or made a bad turnover.

"Even last night, late in the third period leading 4-1, we saw him chip some pucks by some defenders, coming back [on defense], so, hey, we all want Kovy to score because that's his fuel," Hartley said. "But on the other hand he's showing a team commitment that has been very impressive. That's part of this year's team. We changed the face of this year's team without affecting the core."

It's not like Kovalchuk has been a non-factor. He has 15 shots, six more than anyone else on the Thrashers. One of the reasons for his lack of scoring, linemate Steve Rucchin and Hartley said, is that opponents are paying more attention to him.

"You start the new season, teams are always going to be conscious of where he is out there," Rucchin said. "But as the season goes on, it's a long year and it's a grind, you can't necessarily do that and focus on where he is and the areas he goes to, especially the slot area. I think we've seen he's had some chances but they've been doing a great job getting sticks on his chances and they're going up out of play or getting deflected. Like I said it's been four games and we'll find ways to get away from those checkers."

Kovalchuk said he can play better, but he has come to realize the futility of allowing his lack of scoring to affect his play.

"You have to realize when things don't go your way, you have your chances but you don't score, you have to do something right," he said. "If I'm not going to score and not play good defense, it's no good at all. ... If I didn't score five or six games [in midseason] nobody asked me why. At the start, it's why? Don't worry, I'm going to get my goals."

Страничка Ильи Ковальчука на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


8 октября. Kovalchuk has fame, fortune but wants playoffs // The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

4 октября. Илья Ковальчук: "Сезон еще не начался, а я уже оштрафован. . . " // "Спорт-Экспресс"

30 сентября. Ковалёв и Самсонов наконец-то начали забивать. . . Ковальчук изгнан за «кик-боксинг». 

17 сентября. Kovalchuk has sticks, body ready // The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

2 сентября. Илья Ковальчук: "В Москву на чемпионат мира приеду с удовольствием" // "Спорт-Экспресс"

7 августа. Форвард «Атланты» Илья Ковальчук: Меня не остановит даже Бэттман! // "Советский Спорт"

25 июня. Форвард «Атланты» Илья Ковальчук: «Мама переживает – я уже привык» // "Спорт день за днём"

2 июня. Форвард «Атланты» Илья Ковальчук: Готовлюсь стать тренером сборной России! // "Советский Спорт"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года