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12 января 2009 года. 
Call him 'captain' Kovalchuk now //  The Atlanta Journal - Constitution


Thrashers career scoring leader Ilya Kovalchuk became the team's captain Sunday night, the clearest signal yet the Thrashers are committed to keeping him.

General manager Don Waddell consistently has denied all trade rumors and insisted re-signing Kovalchuk will be his No. 1 goal this summer. Sunday's announcement, eight weeks before the trade deadline, reaffirmed the Thrashers' commitment to their 25-year-old all-star.

"We all know this team is Ilya's team, and he's the face of the franchise," Waddell said. "Obviously, I'm not going to trade him. I've squelched those rumors 100 times. This puts the final straw on the camel's back."

"It's business, and you never know what's going to happen," Kovalchuk said, "but today I'm happy, and I hope I'm going to stay here for as long as I'm going to play. I love the city. My family loves the city. And I feel very comfortable around that group of guys [on the team]."

Kovalchuk had been one of five alternate captains this season. The alternates asked a week ago that Kovalchuk be named captain, and Waddell and coach John Anderson agreed. The announcement came at the team's Casino Night charity event.

Anderson said Kovalchuk has shown he's ready.

"Earlier in the year, I don't think he was sure about it," Anderson said. "Now I think he's positive. He's got the vote from the rest of the guys. I think you're going to see a changed man, and I'm not even talking about on the ice."

Kovalchuk, the first pick of the 2001 draft, has been with the franchise longer than any other player. In the past, he resisted the idea of responsibility to do more than be the best player he could be. Over the past several weeks, however, he has been more active in one of the captain's duties, as a team spokesman. But he still plans to pick his spots when exercising his authority or setting himself apart.

"I want to be an example on the ice," he said. "I'm not going to be one of those guys who's going to scream and yell in the locker room. When I have to say something, I will for sure. But the most important thing, we have to be 22 captains if we want to make the playoffs."

Kovalchuk is under contract through the end of next season. The first day the team can negotitate an extension is July 1.

Страничка Ильи Ковальчука на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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