Playoff stage awaits Ilya Kovalchuk

“He works hard, he wants to win, and maybe that’s why I think maybe he’s a better player than I thought he was. He wants to win so much. He enjoys the game, which I didn’t see that as much as when he wasn’t around,” the veteran coach and Hall of Fame player said. “He’s a real player. He’s a guy that he wants to improve. He wants to do well. He wants the team to win. He’s not selfish; those things that you don’t know when the guy’s away. And then when they come in, sometimes you do get some surprises, could be negative or positive. This one was positive, big time.”

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