The Atlanta Thrashers have named forward Ilya Kovalchuk as the team captain, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell. Kovalchuk, who has served as an alternate captain for the last two seasons, becomes the seventh captain in team history and only the fifth Russian-born and trained player in league history to achieve this honor (Alexei Zhamnov, Pavel Bure, Alexei Yashin, Alexander Mogilny). The organization elected to go without a captain for the first half of the season, utilizing five alternate captains (Kovalchuk, Colby Armstrong, Niclas Havelid, Slava Kozlov and Mathieu Schneider).
“Ilya has earned the opportunity to take a larger leadership role on this team and has grown into this position over his six-plus seasons as a member of the Thrashers,” said Waddell. “We’re very pleased, and excited for Ilya, that his fellow alternate captains approached us and felt he should be given the responsibility at this time. We’re confident that he’ll embrace it and represent the organization and his teammates appropriately.”
Kovalchuk, 25, was selected by the Thrashers first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and is the all-time franchise leader in games played (508), points (508), goals (269), assists (239), game-winning goals (33) and power play goals (98).
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