I had a minute with New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias during the All-Star player availability on Friday night before the draft. I asked him his view of how former Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk has been adjusting to life on a new team and a new system.
Here is what he said:
“It’s been a process,” Elias said. “Not an easy process for us, for everyone, for him. The way the season started puts you in a tough position. He’s dealing with it. Since we had a coaching change, like everyone else, he took it as a second life and a fresh start. He’s been playing better. Jacques [Lemaire] has really been on him about playing a more complete game. He’s been doing that. That’s all you can ask.
“He has to realize, and I think he is realizing, hockey is a team sport. Because you are supposed to play defensively doesn’t mean you are not going to create anything offensively. It’s the other way. He’s been playing better defensively and he’s been getting more chances. The more he realizes that, the more successful he’s going to be.”