Ilya, the captain
He scored the game winner in the 2008 World Championship final in Quebec City, and in 2009, when Russia defended their title, he averaged most ice time on the team. Sounds like a player who’s got what it takes, right? The ability to deliver in a crunch situation and the willingness to work hard, and lead by example. Also, he seems to have earned the coach’s trust.
So when Alexei Morozov couldn’t make the World Championship due to an injury, it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to see coach Vyacheslav Bykov name Ilya Kovalchuk the team captain.
It wasn’t one to his teammates.
“I wasn’t surprised, he’s one of our best players, our leader, and in the absence of Morozov, he was a natural choice,” says defenceman Denis Grebeshkov.
For Kovalchuk, wearing the ‘C’ on his chest wasn’t anything completely foreign, after all, he was the captain of the Atlanta Thrashers his last year with the team. He first served as one of five alternate captains until the alternates collectively requested to general manager Don Waddell and coach John Anderson for Kovalchuk to take over the captaincy.
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