Ilya Kovalchuk, like many NHL players, is finding success overseas during the lockout. (Simmons/Daily News)
If you’re going to have a conversation about gifted, professional hockey players, Ilya Kovalchuk has to be a part of that discussion. People love to hate in society and Kovi has been removed from and accepted back into the circle of trust constantly with hockey fans.
Kovalchuk probably got the most flack from players and fans alike while playing with the Atlanta Thrashers. Despite scoring 328 of his 406 goals in Atlanta, Kovi fit the Russian stereotype quite well in the NHL. They’re selfish, one way players, stubborn, and unwilling to change. Even players like Jeremy Roenick would skate up to Kovi, get in his face and spew out words like “selfish prick” or “I can’t believe anyone would ever give you a C.”
Did that change Kovi then? Definitely not. However, a pair of people were able to change Kovi and keep him in check and that was Jacques Lemaire and Peter DeBoer.
New Jersey ...