New Jersey Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk fitting into leadership role going into Stanley Cup Finals -NHL
Ilya Kovalchuk has always been known to be one of the best players in the National Hockey League (NHL) ever since he was picked up as the first overall selection during round-one of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, but being a leader is something that has just
At 29, Kovalchuk is older than New Jersey’s young captain, Zach Parise, and having such vast experience in the major league, Devils’ are hoping to use that aspect of his to lead the team against Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.
Prior to joining the New Jersey Devils, Kovalchuk was known for being a self-centred player who would focus just on himself and not be a team player, even in the most intense of situations. Last season was more of a change for the veteran forward and especially
the playoffs as fans witnessed a softer side of the player.
"Kovalchuk has grown more than most superstars have in the National Hockey League," NBC Sports Analyst Jeremy Roenick told NHL.com. "He's an all-around player and much more of a team player. If he doesn't grow like that, the team doesn't get here to the
Kovalchuk was picked up by New Jersey Devils from Atlanta Thrashers back in February 4 of 2010 in a blockbuster deal. Since then, teammates have seen him transform, not only as a player, but as a person as well.
"I don't think a lot of people realized that he wanted to win, he wanted to help," Devils centre, Travis Zajac, told NHL.com. "He really wants to do whatever it takes. We saw it right from the beginning. I'm not sure other people saw it, but that's the way
Kovalchuk loves to win, there is no doubt in that. Seeing him being a major contributor in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against Los Angeles Kings would not be surprising at all while New Jersey Devils will surely be counting on him to be a leader.
Game 1 of the series kicks off on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 between the two teams at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.