Why Ilya Kovalchuk's case is unique 

July, 12, 2013
7/12/13
9:53
AM ET


Ilya KovalchukJames Guillory/USA TODAY SportsDevils forward Ilya Kovalchuk surprised everyone by announcing he was retiring from the NHL.
Slava Kozlov was the guy you went to if you wanted the truth about Ilya Kovalchuk. When Kovalchuk was a young star in the NHL with the then-Atlanta Thrashers, Kozlov was the wise veteran teammate who had Kovalchuk's complete respect and who minced no words when it came to analyzing the forward's game.

If he thought Kovalchuk wasn't focused enough on defense, he said so. If he thought Kovalchuk needed to do more for the team to win games, he let him know.

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