- Creative Loafing has just published--both online and in print--its annual Best of Atlanta edition. Who do you think wins Best Underrated Local Athlete?
Best underrated local athlete: Ilya KovalchukSince being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellence — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime. Overshadowed or forced to share the spotlight at various points in his career with superstars Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa, Kovalchuk put together arguably his most impressive campaign last season when he was the team's sole source of offensive firepower, scoring 43 goals and netting a total of 91 points — the second-highest total of his career. Kovalchuk's sustained level of dominance in his sport place him on a tier far above any other current local athlete, including Braves all-star Brian McCann and Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan. Keep your fingers crossed, though — 2009 was the last year in his contract and it's unknown if he'll renew with the team.
I don't know about "sole source of fire power," but any "hey, wake up Atlanta" type recognition for Kovalchuk is a good thing, of course. But the best thing about Creative Loafing's Best Of list is their choice for Best Local Record Label. What, you've never heard of Double Phantom?
- How do you spell "inevitable?" Ben Wright tweets it out:
Special guest at morning skate today- AJC arranged for Evander Holyfield to come out and meet Evander Kane. Video later.
- And finally, it looks like Pavelec is starting tonight against the Preds. Rawhide wonders, "Is this wise?"
- Manny Legace (will we ever get to, you know, SEE him?) loves "the Kozzer." The Kozzer. The Koz. The Fonz's Russian cousin.