Originally written on Thrashing the Blues  |  Last updated 11/9/14

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 02: Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 2, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Devils 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Ilya Kovalchuk didn't leave the Thrashers on the greatest terms back in February of 2010. It was a forgone conclusion that he was gone, and it frustrated fans of the Thrashers because of his platitudes all season long. He talked the talk of wanting to stay here, and then poof. Off to New Jersey. Lots of fans, myself included, were unhappy, especially when word leaked out of how much he was offered. His contract would have made him the highest paid player in the league, a rare move by an ownership group too tone deaf to understand the importance of any highly paid player aside from Joe Johnson. Finally, they were offering someone useful money, and Kovalchuk decided to do "what was best for his family" and walk.

What fans didn't know at the time was that Kovy actually probably did want to stay, but it's hard to sign a ten year deal with a team that might not be there in two. And lo, the ownership group that delivered on exactly jack Zhit(nik), not only lost Kovalchuk, they lost Atlanta fans their team. There's a good reason to be upset at them, but whatever hard feelings fans had for Kovy's gone.

Kovalchump no more.

I noticed the thaw at the start of this season. Everyone got the grumbling of 2010 out of their system, and everyone got the Nelson Muntz "haw haw" out of their systems the following full season after Kovy's statistical numbers didn't match his contract dollars. Now? Well, let's just say that Thrashers fans now that we don't have a team have re-adopted IlyaKovalchuk. Sure, it helps a lot that Eric Boulton and beloved goaltender Johan Hedberg are also playing for the Stanley Cup, but I've noticed an increased amount of love for Kovalchuk. At the relocation anniversary not-a-party last Saturday, folks came in Devils gear and it was a near unanimous cheer when the NBC cameras showed Kovalchuk coming onto the ice for warmups -- loud enough that half of Taco Mac cut our party room a really odd glance. 

So, what gives? Why the love for Kovy? Wouldn't you think that fans might be troubled by that one last stab in the gut the season after losing their hockey team: seeing three former players with their name on the Stanley Cup? I can see where that conclusion might be jumped to. Heck, there's been enough this year to frustrate and confound Thrashers fans past the relocation... why not cheer on someone who brought a hell of a lot of good times to Philips Arena? You have to cling to something.

Kovalchuk's chance at the Stanley Cup this year might be over with tonight, or it might live to see another game. Regardless of if Kovy gets his name on it this year or in ten, Thrashers fans are behind him. This has been one unexpected positive that we've been able to cling to this year. We take them where we can get them.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team


Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Report: Smith child abuse investigation 'sexual in nature'

DeGale: ‘At the end of the day I’m better’ than Dirrell

Belichick suspected Tom Brady wasn't being honest with him

Johnny Manziel to be a full participant in OTAs

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

NFL suspends Bills Marcell Dareus for violating substance abuse policy

Astros surprising, but can get better with prospects like Correa

JR Smith prefers taking contested shots to open shots

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.