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20 января 2009 года. 
Atlanta GM denying Kovalchuk rumours; Trade Talk // CanWest Interactive

Pat Hickey. 

Vinny Lecavalier is not the only high-profile player who has been the subject of trade rumours recently.

Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell has been busily denying that Ilya Kovalchuk is on the market. The Thrashers are hoping the trade talk will die down after the team announced last week that Kovalchuk will serve as the team's captain.

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

Said Kovalchuk: "It's business, and you never know what's going to happen. 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]."

There's one major difference between Lecavalier and Kovalchuk. Lecavalier signed an 11-year contract extension earlier this season, while the 25-year-old Kovalchuk has one year remaining on his current contract and Waddell is trying to sign him to an extension. Waddell does not want to go into next season with the possibility of losing Kovalchuk as a free agent in 2010.

Before Kovalchuk was named captain, he was one of five alternate captains. The alternates asked a week ago that Kovalchuk be named captain, and Waddell and coach John Anderson agreed.

Anderson said Kovalchuk has shown he is 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 No. 1 overall pick at the 2001 entry draft, is the longest-serving Thrasher. He has not been thrilled with the idea of taking on more responsibility in the past, but has been more active as a team spokesman this season.

"I'm not going to be one of those guys who's going to scream and yell in the locker room," he said. "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."

It may take more than that. While the thrashers have won back-to-back games for the first time since November, Atlanta is 13 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, heading into yesterday's games.

Страничка Ильи Ковальчука на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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