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Ilya Kovalchuk Interview

Ilya Kovalchuk, of the Atlanta Thrashers, is one of the top scorers in the National Hockey League.
Courtesy of NHL
By: Simon

Ilya Kovalchuk, of the Atlanta Thrashers, is one of hockey's top snipers who is setting the NHL on fire. I talked to Kovalchuk about playing in the NHL All-Star Game and becoming a superstar.

Simon: What was it like playing in the NHL All-Star Game?
Ilya Kovalchuk: It was just an unbelievable experience. I got to meet so may great players and play with some of the top superstars. The NHL is the best league in the world with the best players, so it was just great.

Simon: What do you think about playing in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey?
Ilya Kovalchuk: I haven't had much time to think about it. I've been concentrating on playing the last 25 games for the Thrashers. But I think it will be a great tournament with the best players in the world.

Simon: What's the biggest difference between your life in Russia and life in North America.
Ilya Kovalchuk: Life is much harder in Russia. Here everyone has a lot more. American dollars buy a lot more than Russian rubles.

Simon: What do you miss most about Russia?
Ilya Kovalchuk: My family and friends. I have a lot of friends back home who I grew up with and I miss them the most. Russia is a long way away.

Simon: You seem to be able to beat just about every goalie in the NHL. Which goalie do you think is the toughest to score against?
Ilya Kovalchuk: That's a tough question. There are so many great goalies in the league right now. But Martin Brodeur in New Jersey is really good and Marty Turco in Dallas is always tough to beat.

Simon: What advice would you give to kids trying to make it to the NHL?
Ilya Kovalchuk: Just play hockey and don't even worry about the NHL. When I was a kid in Russia, I didn't even think about making it to the NHL. I just played because I loved hockey. It wasn't until I started playing for Moscow Spartak when I was a teenager that I thought, 'Yeah, maybe I can make the NHL.' But when I was a kid, I just played hockey and had fun.

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