Ilya Kovalchuk - The great uniter - 1-26-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Much was made of the new-found chumminess between Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin over the weekend. You can thank Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk (above, with Malkin) for bringing those two together.

Slava Malamud for The Washington Post writes:

"Friday night, during the dinner with other fellow All Stars, Kovalchuk got the two of them together and proposed to finalize the peace talks (which began earlier that day with the handshaking incident) and make it all official. 'He poured it for us', said Malkin after the Super Skills last night, talking about a Russian peacemaking ritual, the deep-hidden essence of which you can easily guess.

"Of course, it was also Kovalchuk's idea to let Malkin dress Alex (and give him a squirt of Gatorade) during the final Breakaway Challenge. Alex wanted to take the props out himself, but Ilya convinced him to use Malkin, thus putting the final touch on his peacemaking efforts. Between his gold-medal goal at the World Championships last year and his mediation of the Ovie-Malkin dispute with the Olympics looming ahead, Kovy is on the fast track to becoming Russia's favorite son right about now."

We're not sure it's a good thing the Penguins-Capitals (or is it Capitals-Penguins?) rivalry has been defused a bit. Moments like this are about as riveting as it gets in the NHL:

Assuming no one is injured, what's wrong with a little personal venom between two of the league's most dazzling talents?

We guess we'll have to settle for the little tiff Ovechkin has with that Crosby guy:

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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