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11-01-2003, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Sundried TOmato
I was lucky enough to follow both Kovalchuk's and Ovechkin's development from a young age. Here is my take on Ovechkin. He is very good in every aspect of the game. He can be downright brilliant at times. Dominating grown man at a tender age of 17, and still growing physically. He is quiet, polished, and determined. Much more media savvy than Kovalchuk at his age. Similar to Joe Sakic in many ways, but with Bure-like pure skill.

Here is why I prefer Kovalchuk. These two approach the game differently. Kovalchuk is all about passion and burning desire to win. Ovechkin is measured and professional. He is not playing Kovalchuk/Kovalev pond hockey - he is highly disciplined and wise beyond his years. Which is cool, of course – but I will take passion over polish.

Ilya is rougher around the edges then Alexander; but sky is the limit for him. I want to see how Ovechkin progresses. He is already a complete player; I wonder how much better he can get. Kovalchuk has progressed tremendously over the past 3 years. I watched him in Russia, and then saw him again in 03-04 in the NHL. Man, has he matured… If Ovechkin develops at the same pace, he’ll dominate the league by 06-07. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
It's an interesting outlook and I think we have already seen some form of this divergence in the careers of Mogliny and Bure.

Bure could perhaps be portrayed as the more passionate and more flashy of the two. But Mogilny has a fine point to his game which Bure does not. It shows up in all areas -- passing, shooting, stickhandling, vision, defensive awareness, and overall team play. And yet it's Bure who has always been viewed as a fan draw, while Mogilny has quietly managed to become a very valuable component of contending teams while not necessarily playing the star role.

It will be intriguing to see to what extent Kovalchuk's and Ovechkin's careers parallel Bure's and Mogilny's. Kovalchuk's progress this year indicates that he is evolving into a stronger team player, so the comparison may not hold for long.

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