Flashy Thrasher strives to be more than just
a scorer - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By JOHN MANASSO
Ilya Kovalchuk made sure he had tickets earlier this season when the
Cleveland Cavaliers played the Hawks at Philips Arena. Kovalchuk, whose
father Valeri played professional basketball in Russia, wanted to see the
phenomenal LeBron James.
Because James is American and his sport is basketball, he became a
household name when he was taken No. 1 in this summer's NBA draft.
Conversely, Kovalchuk, who played for the Moscow club Spartak, also
was taken No. 1 in his sport's draft and was a sensation in his rookie
year as an 18-year-old. But he was an obscure Russian few outside of North
America had seen play, let alone heard of.
That's changing. Some say Kovalchuk has become the best player in the
New Jersey Devils center John Madden, one of the game's top defensive
forwards, said this recently to the New York Daily News: "I made a statement
the other day that [Jaromir] Jagr is the best player [in the league]. I
want to rephrase that because Kovalchuk is the best."
He's certainly not obscure anymore. Voted a starter for today's All-Star
Game in St. Paul, Minn., Kovalchuk finished with the most votes of any
player. Starting from the darkness of an expansion franchise in its second
season that finished 29th in the league, Kovalchuk's maturation has helped
transform the Thrashers into a playoff contender in less than three seasons.
He still makes questionable decisions with the puck at times; there are
just fewer of them.
"A big-time goal-scorer doesn't mean he'll make you win," Thrashers
coach Bob Hartley said. "A complete hockey player on both sides of the
puck will give you a better shot of winning the close games or of winning
the [Stanley] Cup. That's one thing that Kovy understands."
Страничка Ильи Ковальчука на сайте "Звёзды
8 февраля. Ковальчук
открыл счёт своим голам на матчах “звёзд”.
12 января. Король в 20 лет! Илья Ковальчук – самый
популярный игрок НХЛ! - Советский Спорт
4 ноября. Форвард “Атланты” Илья Ковальчук стал лучшим
31 октября. Илья Ковальчук: "Хоккей - единственный
предмет по которому у меня "неуд" - Спорт-Экспресс