Friday, August 14, 2009


The Russian national team forward and Atlanta Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk visited the Sport Express office.

The two-time World champion Ilya Kovalchuk visited the Sport Express office last Friday and talked to journalists from hockey department.

"NHL and KHL hold transfer wars this season as many Russian stars return to their homeland and two league exchange players. To my mind it’s normal situation and I think that some kind of a war is necessary for them", said Kovalchuk.

"NHL used to be the only one leading hockey league and nobody could oppose anything to it. Today they have some relations with KHL and it’s very good".

"And moreover players are free to choose between these two leagues. I look at it as a player and I see positive moment in KHL and NHL rivalry".

"Nobody discuss Kontinental Hockey League openly in North America but in reality everybody talk about KHL and respect it. Russian national team won two latest World Championship and many strong players moved to Russia and people can’t but discuss this hockey league".

"I have an acting contract with Atlanta for one more season. So I will be able to tell you whether I got offers from Russia only when I become a free agent".

"It’s hard to say if these leagues find a common language with each other someday. It’s clear that 150-200 thousand dollars for a transfer of young player to NHL is a too little sum of money".

"I mean that coaches put much energy, nerves and emotions to educate players and they need to get worthy compensation for their work".

"American mass media rumour that I have already started negotiations with Atlanta on my new contract but don’t believe these rumours. I got no serious offers yet and don’t forget that I have one year of contract with the Thrashers".

"I really want to stay in Atlanta so I need to see this team next year. Our management reinforced the roster this summer and signed Antropov, Kubina and several other players. I think our performance will be more interesting this season".

"KHL is very good and interesting hockey league. Everybody sees that many top-level players return to Russia and it’s a perfect alternative to NHL".

"At the same time it’s necessary to understand that NHL is rich history. If KHL keeps on progressing this league will catch up with their competitors in several years".

"Comeback of Zubov and Fedorov to Russia was not surprising for me. They played in NHL for a long time and they proved their worth to everyone".

"I have no doubts that Zubov will surprise many people in Russia because he is in perfect form despite he is 39 now. He is a very good acquisition for SKA".

"Our victories at the World Championships were absolutely different. Last year we clinched a long-awaited victory as we hadn’t won the title during fifteen years before it. One year before we hoped that Russia would win the home championship but we were only the third. And victory in overtime was more entertaining which will be remembered forever".

"In Switzerland we had many injured players and this victory was much tougher. Our main achievement is that Russian team made Russian supporters happy".

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