Ilya Kovalchuk on the red carpet at the 2008 All Star Weekend in Atlanta.
For Thrasher fans it’s the thing to do nowadays to pretend they never loved you. That they don’t have your jersey hanging in the back of their closet. That they didn’t pay to see YOU. That they didn’t want you anyway. That we’re better off without you.
I confess it is with a tiny bit of satisfaction that, despite your trade to what you called a “class organization,” you, my dear Kovalchuk, went out much like you would have with the Thrashers — except that with the Thrashers you probably wouldn’t have won that one playoff game.
That being said, I loved you Kovy. Part of me always will. Just like all the others who have come and gone: Hossa (a personal favorite of mine and the only Thrasher jersey this non-jersey wearing Goddess has ever donned), Marc Savard, Peter Bondra, Slava Kozlov (I could post forever about how much I love him and how he, along with the Red Wings’ Russian Five, are the ones who really solidified my love of hockey), and now you, Kovy.
To all the Thrashers I've loved before. Kozzy and Kovy at Casino Night 2009
With a bit of shame and a dash of schadenfreude, I can honestly admit that your tasting defeat in another uniform made me smile a little — but sadly. Sadly because I did love you. And despite what Thrasher fans say, they loved you too. I wish you well, wherever you land. I do believe you did a lot for the city of Atlanta. You provided hockey’s version of the Human Highlight Film on many occasions. You were always accommodating and polite to fans (this year’s Casino Night notwithstanding, in which you were a bit “off”). So adieu Ilya Kovalchuk and best wishes.
And, please forgive my little grin. You don’t really deserve it, but I can’t help it.
Note: This post was written by a completely biased Thrasher fan who, deep in her heart, really wishes him back. No objectivity implied, striven for, or accomplished.
Photos: Ilya Kovalchuk; and Ilya Kovalchuk and Vyacheslav Kozlov by Goddess Kaatiya. Copyright 2009-2010. All Rights Reserved.