Ilya Kovalchuk said the Washington Capitals were playing well enough to win the Stanley Cup at the time the NHL season was paused.
"We were ready," Kovalchuk told the Cam & Strick Podcast earlier this month. "In the last few games we played really well."
Kovalchuk played seven games for Washington after he was traded Feb. 23 by the Montreal Canadiens for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The forward had four points (one goal, three assists) for the Capitals, who were 3-2-2 after he joined them but got a point their final three games before the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
"It's taking me a little time to adjust to the system and everything, but a great group of guys and was very excited to be there," Kovalchuk said. "So hopefully … we are going to finish the season and [the Stanley Cup Playoffs] will start."
Kovalchuk played his first 17 games of the season for the Los Angeles Kings before he was scratched for 18 straight games, was waived, and had his contract terminated Dec. 17. He signed with Montreal on Jan. 3 and scored 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 22 games for the Canadiens.