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52 причины, чтобы любить Илью Ковальчука — 2006.07.07 01:58

Илья КовальчукНа официальном сайте профсоюза игроков НХЛ опубликован очерк об Илье Ковальчуке, который называется "52 причины, чтобы любить Илью Ковальчука". Приводим текст в оригинале.

"I love kids, because when I was really young when I started playing (veteran) guys came in the locker room and shook your hand or signed an autograph for you, it's an unbelievable feeling..." Ilya Kovalchuk

What is the main objective for a player whose name is synonymous with goal scoring? Not what you might think.
Coming off his best offensive season to date, Ilya Kovalchuk, who lit the lamp on 52 occasions for the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005-06, is unarguably one of the National Hockey League's premier shooters.

And while he has become a highlight-reel staple, the 23-year-old, who was the first overall selection in the 2001 Entry Draft, has other goals in mind, so to speak, when it comes to his career.

"My goal is make the playoffs and I don't care how many goals I am to going score in the NHL, - said Kovalchuk, who has 160 tallies in 305 regular season NHL contests, a 0.52 per game scoring rate. - I don't think about winning any trophies right now. It's not a big deal for me".

Maybe not in the eyes of the Atlanta left winger, but for the players and fans of the Thrashers, they are well aware just how crucial Kovalchuk's offensive contributions are to the team's fortunes. They've known it from the very moment the native of Tver, Russia, skated in his first NHL game.

Combining a precise shot with great speed and superior stickhandling, Kovalchuk paired with 2002 Rookie of the Year Dany Heatley to form one of hockey's most potent one-two punches.

In his first NHL season, Kovalchuk scored 29 goals and added 22 assists in 65 games, serving notice that he was ready to tackle the toughest of competitors. He also took MVP honours after a much talked about performance in the YoungStars game during All-Star Weekend.

"The first time I saw the NHL on TV in Russia was Vancouver and the (New York) Rangers, the '94 series, - said Kovalchuk, in reference to the Stanley Cup Final. - I was a big fan of Pavel Bure, so I watched all seven games, it was unbelievable. After that, I started to really follow the NHL because when I started playing there, I didn't hear anything about the NHL. I never thought I was going to play here".

Kovalchuk cracked the 30-goal mark in his sophomore campaign, finding the net an impressive 38 times. He also finished the year with 67 points, a boost of 16 points from the previous year.

Year three was even more extraordinary, a season in which Kovalchuk produced 87 points, including 41 goals in 81 games, the first time the forward averaged more than a point per game.

Although he was and often still is singled out for his performances, Kovalchuk is quick to note the impact his teammates have had on his successes.

"He's looking for me all the time, - noted Kovalchuk, of former linemate Marc Savard, who recently inked a new deal with the Boston Bruins. - He's a great partner, he's a great player. There's no bad thing about it. He is one of the best centres in the League".

While the Thrashers fell just short of their goal of making it to the post-season, the high-flying, high-scoring squad appears to have the pieces in place to secure a berth in the playoffs in 2006-07.

With Kovalchuk as the main attraction, it gives the Eastern Conference team even more reason to be optimistic.

But it's not only on the ice where the Russian wants to make an impact.

When he was awarded the Rocket Richard Trophy (tying with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash) as the NHL.s top goal scorer in 2003-04, Atlanta coach Bob Hartley noted that the Hall of Fame legend always had time for the fans, something that is of equal importance to Kovalchuk.

"I love kids, because when I was really young when I started playing (veteran) guys came in the locker room and shook your hand or signed an autograph for you, it's an unbelievable feeling, - he offered. - For me, it's not a big deal to sign the cards, but for them, it's maybe something special. I don't know. That's why I'm doing it".

Kovalchuk is equally focused on playing his part in making the Thrashers a serious Stanley Cup contender.

"I always try to help my team to win games, - said the 215-pounder, who has enjoyed a stellar international career, including a gold medal with the Russian Under-18 team at the 2000 Five Nations Cup. - That's why I feel that we've got a great atmosphere in the locker room right now. Whether you're in the game, you're in the practice facility or locker rooms - it's a great feeling".

http://www.nhlpa.com/Content/Feature.asp?contentId606









18.02.2010 | 15:30:02

Российские хоккеисты одержали первую победу на Олимпиаде

Илья КовальчукСборная России по хоккею в первом матче группового турнира обыграла латвийскую команду со счетом 8:2.

11.05.2009 | 02:02:35

Россия – чемпион мира!

Илья КовальчукСборная России в 25-й раз в истории отечественного хоккея стала чемпионом мира. В решающем матче россияне, как и год назад, одолели самого принципиального соперника – сборную Канады!

11.05.2009 | 01:57:55

Ковальчук – лучший игрок чемпионата мира!

Илья КовальчукНападающий сборной России Илья Ковальчук признан лучшим игроком чемпионата мира в Швейцарии. Форвард, выступающий за "Атланту", стал лучшим бомбардиром своей команды, которая в воскресенье подтвердила звание чемпионов мира.

10.05.2009 | 02:13:16

Канада постарается переписать историю, заявил Доан.

Илья КовальчукКапитан сборной Канады Шейн Доан в преддверии финального поединка чемпионата мира против России заявил, что его команда использует все шансы, чтобы переписать историю.

10.05.2009 | 02:12:13

Сборная России стала послом сочинской Олимпиады.

Илья КовальчукСборная России на специальной церемонии в Берне, где проходит чемпионат мира, стала послом зимних Олимпийских игр 2014 года в Сочи, сообщает РИА Новости.

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