Star winger Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers is the NHL’s offensive player of the week after tallying 11 points (8-3) in four games.
Goalies Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers and the resurgent David Aebischer of the Colorado Avalanche shared the league’s defensive player of the week for both standing tall in three victories by their respective teams.
Kovalchuk recorded goals in all four games as Atlanta went 3-1. He opened the week with one goal and three assists in an 8-3 rout over Ottawa last Monday, tallied two goals in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Wednesday, recorded a hat trick while also taunting Sidney Crosby in a 6-4 victory against Pittsburgh on Friday night and closed the week with two goals in a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
Former NHLer Uwe Krupp was unexpectedly elevated to head coach of the German national team last month when American coach Greg Poss resigned to take a job with Mannheim of the German league. Krupp was supposed to be Poss’ assistant coach in Turin.
Krupp, 40, has very little coaching experience but believes his NHL resume, a Stanley Cup championship and 729 career games, can help the German program rebound from last spring’s devastating performance at the IIHF world championship in Austria.