Ilya Kovalchuk has a mean streak and the Team Russia captain took out some frustration on Swedish opponents Thursday. Following a faceoff, Kovalchuk crosschecked, shoved and punched three different Swedish players and was handed 12 penalty minutes for his bizarre outburst.
When remembering Ilya Kovalchuk’s NHL tenure, it’s easy to recall the incredible wrist shot, the highlight-reel goals and the size and speed of a superstar. What some may not remember, though, is that Kovalchuk was no stranger to mixing it up.
Well, that side of Kovalchuk’s game reared its ugly head again at the Euro Hockey Tour’s Channel One Cup in Russia Thursday. During a game against Sweden, Kovalchuk was lined up across from Patrick Zackrisson during a neutral zone faceoff. As the puck was dropped, without warning, Kovalchuk began to cross check Zackrisson repeatedly, which was followed by a near fight at center ice:
Ilya Kovalchuk lost his temper a little bit when Russia played Sweden in the Channel One Cup today… pic.twitter.com/e5xhZz0SA0
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) December 17, 2015
Sweden’s Andreas Thuresson is the second player who Kovalchuk approaches, and Thuresson takes a shove right to the face before Swedish blueliner Jonas Junland stepped up. For his trouble, Junland caught a Kovalchuk right hook square in the jaw. Kovalchuk was hit with 12 minutes in penalties, but remained in the game. Sweden went on to win the contest 4-1.
Kovalchuk was suspended twice during his NHL career for acting out — once for throwing a stick into the stands, another for a hit from behind — and he was known to lose his cool every so often. During his NHL career, Kovalchuk fought nine times, and at least once a season from 2006-07 to 2011-12. There was an ultra-aggressive side to Kovalchuk that came out.
There hasn’t been any word on supplemental discipline for Kovalchuk, and it doesn’t appear the EHT is going to take any further action on the Russian captain. Russia plays Finland in Capital One Cup action Saturday.
(Video via Robert Soderlind)