Ilya was the first
Russian-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL draft.
Ilya wears number
17 as a tribute to the late Valeri Kharlamov, who played for the Soviet
Union but never got to compete in the NHL because of governmental restrictions.
Kharlamov was one of the stars of the 1972 Summit Series.
At 18, Ilya was
the youngest pro on any hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
In the 2001-02
season, Ilya and Dany Heatley became the first teammates to finish one-two
in rookie scoring since the Brian Leetch (71 points) and Tony Granato
(63 points) did for the New York Rangers in 1988-1989.
Ilya was the top
vote-getter for the 2004 All-Star Game.
In 2005–06, Ilya tied for third in the league in goals with Alexander Ovechkin, behind Jonathan Cheechoo and Jaromir Jagr.
Ilya played for Russia in the 2006 Olympics. He scored four goals in eight games, but the team finished fourth.
Ilya had back-to-back hat tricks in November of 2007.
Ilya led Russia to gold in the World Championships in 2008 and 2009. Against Canada in the 2008 title game, he scored a goal to send the contest into overtime, and then scored the game-winner. In 2009, he was named tournament MVP, with 14 points in nine games.
Ilya scored his 300th NHL goal against the St. Louis Blues early in the 2009–10 season. His 300th assist came at the end of the year, as a member of the Devils.
Ilya was the first Thrasher to score 50 goals in a season, and only the second Atlanta player to reach that plateau. Guy Chouinard scored 50 goals for the Atlanta Flames in 1978–79.
Ilya has a dog
Ilya was the first player since 1994 to string together six straight 40-goal seasons.
One of Ilya’s
favorite hobbies is bowling.
Ilya runs a charity
program called Kovy's Kids, which supports needy children. His program hosts "parties" where kids can participate
in different activities, such as bowling and video games.