This may seem very pre-mature now, but I've taken Kovalchuk's top 10 moments as a Devil for 2 reasons: 1. Because he's had some great moments already, and 2. I haven't been able to come up with anything else. Here's the 2nd DGA post ever with video: (*Warning: this is not "funny"*)
10. Devils trade for Ilya Kovalchuk - The Devils aren't known for grabbing superstars, especially in mid-season trades, but for whatever reason, Lou Lamoriello felt adding Kovalchuk would be what the Devils needed. Well, it didn't work right away, and despite Gary Bettman trying everything he could to prevent the signing, Ilya signed with the Devils forever, or so it seems. I'm sure a few jars of jelly were tossed over the summer that was, but here's the trade to New Jersey.
9. The Great Rush - In game 1 of the playoffs against the Flyers last year, Ilya Kovalchuk took the game over, at least for one shift. I know the bottom line is, he didn't bury it, but this end-to-end rush gave Devils fans a preview of what the next 15 years could be like.
8. Fight with Phaneuf - It was the day after Christmas 2010, and nothing could go right for the Devils, or Ilya Kovalchuk, for that matter, since he had been slumping miserably, as the whole team had. Ilya finally showed his anger as he tangled with Dion Phaneuf.
7. Breaking out at MSG - While Kovy had experienced some success against the arch-rival NY Rangers early in his Devils career, the Devils hadn't. This time, things would be different. Unfortunately, few Devils fans were around by the end of the game, since everyone had already had a heart attack by then.
6. The Flower blooms - Some Devils fans thought this game was a classic, and while I don't agree with that, this goal is certainly one of the more memorable from Kovy's first year in New Jersey. The celebration speaks for itself. Fleury wasn't exactly thrilled after this one, either.
5. Breaking away against former team - On the final day of 2010, finally, Ilya and the Devils had a reason to celebrate: they won a game. This was the highlight of that game, and finally, for all the right reasons.
4. First win of the year - This is the first of three overtime goals for Ilya Kovalchuk in the 2010-11 season, and it was also John MacLean's first win as a head coach. 8 wins later, he'd be fired.
3. First goal as a Devil - Here's Kovalchuk's first goal as a Devil. Yes, as you'll hear Chico Resch point out, we all threw hats onto the ice after the goal.
2. Rebounding - Here's what happened the night before:
Knowing that, Kovalchuk found a way to make up for that blooper the night before.
1. Another OT goal from Toronto - This one is arguably the prettiest Kovalchuk goal since he came to New Jersey, and it came late in overtime against the Leafs. It was Jacques Lemaire's 600th career win as a head coach.
So there you have it. That's just the first 82 games of Kovalchuk's Devils career. He's got more than 14 years to add to that.
Come to think of it, I like doing top-10's. Feel free to comment not only on this, but suggest future top-10's I should feature on the blog, and yes, I already know what someone's thinking, top-10 bloopers. Well, go to the archives, I did that already. This is also an easy way to give me time to come up with something original.
*EDIT: Ilya Kovalchuk's Devils debut cannot be forgotten. Here's his first point as a Devil against Toronto.
here's the incredible finish of that hockey game:
Thanks to NHLVideo and DevilsHQ, most of the footage is from them on YouTube. One video is from Fel0096.