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I wrote this article back on May 31, 2006. I did use sources to research some of it but most of it was on my own.

Ilya Kovalchuk's Life


At a very young age Ilya was a talent in sports. His father Valeri was a professional basketball player. Valeri had played for the Soviet's National Team. Valeri didn't want to push his son into basketball. He wanted Ilya to pick his own sport. Ilya tried out different sports. By the age of five he got his first pair of ice skates. Ilya learned quick, and trained hard with his dad at the gym. The family wasn't rich, living in an apartment. Valeri Kharlamov was Ilya's idol, and that is why he wears #17 today in the NHL. Pavel Bure was also a inspiration, since Ilya got to watch the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.


In 1998, Ilya was 15 years old. He traveled to North America for the first time to compete in a junior tournament in Ontario. Scouts were paying big attention to Ilya since people had toke note about him. The scouts loved him. He had big size for his age, and was very fast. He could skate around opponets with ease. As a teenager he earned a spot on Under-17 squad. In a game against Canada’s Newmarket 87s, he intentionally crashed elbows-first into the opposing bench and then cross-checked goalie Jason Hooper. Newmarket’s players had seen enough, and a huge brawl ensued. A month later Ilya demonstrated his value as a scorer when he led the Russians to a gold medal in the World U-17 Challenge. He topped the tournament in scoring, with 10 goals and 14 assists in six games. During the championship game against Canada, he was clearly the best player on the ice.


In 2001 the NHL draft was right around the corner. People had high expectations for Ilya Kovalchuk, but there was another player in mind. Don Waddel had a tough decission to make to either draft Ilya or Jason. They regarded Ilya just as highly—a rare player who could change a game in an instant. In Spezza, the Thrashers envisioned a future All-Star who was the ultimate team player and understood every aspect of the game. Some scouts even said that Ilya was the highest scouted player since Eric Lindros with the highest potential. Rumors now ran rampant that Atlanta GM Don Waddell wanted to trade the top pick. The Buffalo Sabres offered young goalie Martin Biron and Michael Peca. The Montreal Canadiens dangled Jose Theodore. The Nashville Predators tried the same thing with their netminder, Mike Dunham. Waddell decided to keep the pick and draft Ilya with the 1st overall pick of the '01 draft. That made him the 1st Russian born player ever to go 1st overall in the NHL draft. Jason Spezza ended up going 2nd overall to he Ottawa Senators.

Ilya came out flying in his rookie season. He score 7 goals his 1st month. Fraser (Head Coach) decided to start sitting Ilya because his defense was very poor. His plus/minus wasn't looking good. The only thing he was doing right was scoring goals. Ilya went into the young stars game and nette 6 goals and got 1 assist as well. A great game from him. Ilya also represented Russia in the '02 Olympics. The Olympics were in Salt Lake City. Ilya appearing in his first of many to come, he was only 18 years old. Kovalchuk finished the season with 29 goals, 22 assists, and 51 points in just 65 games. He missed end of the season with a shoulder injury.


In 2003 Fraser was still the Head Coach of the team. He continued to sit Ilya for his poor defensive play. The Thrashers weren't in a good position, so they fired Fraser and hired Bob Hartley. Hartley had led the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup in 2001. Hartley had a talk with Ilya about his defensive play. Hartley said he would play Kovy more if he would play better defensively. Kovalchuk agreed with Hartley, and his plus/minus was starting to go up. Ilya played the point in the powerplay for the full two minutes, because he has a cannon one-timer. He finished the 2003 season with 38 goals, 29 assists, and 67 points.


In 2004 Ilya played even better. He was tied for the league lead in goals with Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla (41). He also came in second place for the points total (87). With the lockout underway, Ilya went back to his home country Russia to play with his old team. A lot of NHL'ers joined him as well.


Coming into the 2006 season the Thrashers didn't have Kovalchuk on the roster. They had to find a way to sign their ultimate weapon. They signed him to a 5-year 32 million dollars contract. This was very good for the team. He finished this season with 52 goals, 46 assists, and 98 points. Certainly his best season of his career.
 

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Nice job.

You have all the facts and stuff down well, no doubt about that.

There are a lot of periods in there though. I think you might need to add in some more commas and try to stretch some of the sentences out a bit here and there while continuing to do a good job of keeping wordiness to a minimum, like you've done.

Overall, it's a great job man. :thumbsup: Don't mind my pickiness. ;)
 
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