Elias: Kovalchuk working to become complete player

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.”

14 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

January 28th, 2011
7:58 pm

It’s about time he started learning that lesson. I have to wonder, though, if he would have learned it sooner had Hartley not been canned?

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East Point Bob

January 28th, 2011
8:55 pm

Kovalchuk, Who cares about him now ? Everyone remember his lies last year at this time ?
He took the lead from the group of liars, nothing new here, he can fail all he wants !


January 28th, 2011
10:12 pm

Kovy has made 100mm doing nothing but trying to score goals. Him saying he is going to play defense or play any other way than he has always played is crap. Waddell did a good job getting plenty of compensation for a guy that Hartley wanted to get rid of 5 years ago. We are a much better team and Lamorillo overreached to the point that he damaged the Devils for years to come. Have you ever talked to Kovy? Zero charisma or leadership skills.


January 28th, 2011
10:31 pm

A complete player. Jimmy Slater.

Ronald Petrovicky

January 29th, 2011
6:51 am

Worst Capt. ever.


January 29th, 2011
7:55 am

Mr. Rogers

January 29th, 2011
9:20 am

Can you say “MISSION: Impossible,” Boys & Girls?


January 29th, 2011
10:40 am

Not Thrashers news. Actually it’s old news being regurgitated. We’ve heard this over and over for 6 years. Move on.

why not?

January 29th, 2011
1:44 pm

Sometime there is no reason for explanation. +/- -29


January 29th, 2011
4:26 pm

Hartley tried to get Kovalchuk to play a more complete game. He did try. But when a GM’s job is safe, irrespective of complete and utter collapse, the players lose respect for the organization, and act accordingly, “mailing it in” some nights and not being prepared to play, other times. We saw it time and time again.

Hartley used to tell Kovalchuk that he’d be the best winger in the NHL if he just learned to play defense. Kovalchuk already felt he was the best winger in the NHL, without the need to play defense.


January 29th, 2011
6:42 pm

Wish he would have realized all that when he played here.

Tony C

January 30th, 2011
8:25 am

I think ASG letting Bob take the fall for the mercenary squad DW assembled is crap. I also wonder if Bob will get offered Les Habs job (seems to be the only one he’s interested in)-but yeah he and Lemairre are the only ones to ever get #17 go ALLLL the way back on D. Took a benching or two if I recall.

Puck Like A Porn Star

February 1st, 2011
10:15 pm

What a dedicated athlete.

At this rate, Kovalchuk may become the best figure skater EVER.