Ilya Kovalchuk really wants the NHL season to resume. He's not unique in that respect, but for him, he is really hopeful the Capitals can return to the ice because he believes the team has a chance to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Kovalchuk was a trade deadline acquisition for Washington. While he has been very open about how much he enjoyed his time in Montreal, he wasn't upset about being traded to the Caps.
"I was happy because it’s a great chance to achieve something special," Kovalchuk said in an appearance on the Cam & Strick Podcast.
Kovalchuk was well known within the Caps' locker room even before he joined the team, especially among the Russian players. He and Ovechkin are known to be friends, but that's not why Kovalchuk was excited to come to Washington.
“It’s not just because [Ovechkin's] my buddy but it’s a great chance to win something special," Kovalchuk said. "I think that group of guys, they're ready. They’re experienced, they’re healthy, they’re big, strong."
Kovalchuk was one of the best players in the NHL in his prime, but a Stanley Cup has thus far eluded him. To him, the key to winning is physicality and that's something Kovalchuk says the Caps have plenty of, comparing them to last year's champs, the St. Louis Blues.
"I think the playoffs are really about size and toughness and everything together," Kovalchuk said. "We were ready. In the last few games we played really well. It's taking me a little time to adjust to the system and everything but a great group of guys and was very excited to be there. Hopefully, we are going to finish the season and playoffs will start.”
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