Tag Archives: Alex Kovalev

All-Star Game Baby Naming

In just nine months from now, the NHL all-star game, which normally would be held at this time, won’t be because if all goes well, players will be suiting up as Olympians in Sochi instead.

So women everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they can get pregnant and not miss any all-star action because they’ll be in the delivery room.

You can, however, name the new baby Bettman or Sochi if you want.

Last year’s all-star game was supposed to take place in Columbus, but didn’t because of that little hiccup called the lockout. So now it’ll be two full years without titillating drama, like the classic of two years ago when Team Lidstrom edged Team Staal 11-10.

I was on the edge of my seat. The edge of the porta potty I always bring into the living room so I don’t miss anything.

Have you ever considered the name Porta Potty for your baby?

When the games are played, it’s heart-stopping drama, as we saw in 2009 when the Eastern Conference team beat the Western Conference 12-11, or 1993, when the Wales Conference clobbered the Campbell Conference 16-6.

Unfortunately, very few parents wanted to name their babies Wales, although I think there’s quite a few Campbells. But no Drama. Maybe there’s the odd kid in Hollywood called Drama. There’s Moroccan and Exton, so why not Drama?

It wasn’t always football scores in all-star games. When the format meant the Stanley Cup champs against the best of the rest, both sides wanted bragging rights, so the games were serious and hard-hitting. In fact, the record for lowest amount of goals scored occurred in 1956, when the Cup champion Habs and the NHL elite tied 1-1.

The Rocket scored for Montreal, while Terrible Ted Lindsay did the same for the NHL.

Surprisingly, I’ve yet to run into anyone born in 1956 named Rocket or Terrible. But there are a ton of people named Richard and Lindsay out there.

Things were also deadly serious in 1979 when NHL players played a three-game series against the Soviet squad called the Challenge Cup, which saw the foreigners take two of three games, including a 6-0 whitewashing in the deciding game..

If you were born in 1979, is your name Challenge? Or Foreigner? Or Helmut Balderis?

And for the record, my daughter was born just after this series. We named her Shannon. My wife wasn’t much of a hockey fan.

 

 

Kovy Calls It A Day

Kovalev

Former Hab Alex Kovalev is packing it in after 20 years in the bigs. He’d given it a shot this year in Florida but managed just 14 games before Father Time gave him the final nudges to exit stage left.

Kovalev played four full seasons with Montreal between 2005 and 2009, plus 12 games prior in 2003, and managed 264 total points as a member of the bleu, blanc et rouge.

We all know what this guy was. Great, lousy, brilliant, lazy, genius, head-scratching, and sometimes dazzling and often not. When he was on his game, he was one of the best. When he wasn’t, we wanted to string him up and let the buzzards pick at him.

All in all, it was time to wrap things up for the talented Russian. In the world of pro hockey, unless you’re Gordie Howe, a 40-year old forward is just way too old.

 

What The…..?

In my previous post about Alex Kovalev, I had posted a video which came out as oversized and looked terrible. I didn’t know about this until hours later and I have no idea why it changed. When I first set it up, it fit perfectly.

I had it automatically scheduled for after midnight, and maybe something happened because of the scheduling process.

It’s now been fixed and I’m sorry about this. Presently I’m scratching my head over what happened.

Lesser Moments For Kovalev

Good old Alex Kovalev, the man who could dazzle us for one game and stink for the next five, is back in Montreal tonight wearing a Florida Panthers uniform. Kovalev, who was with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the KHL for the 2011-12 season, returned to North America and just after the lockout ended, signed with the Panthers.

I remember that night against Boston when he had his hand slashed by a Bruin, gave up on the play because it hurt a little, ran into Sheldon Souray as he was feeling so badly, and when all this was going on, a Bruin player took the puck, waltzed in, and scored the winner in overtime. I was embarrassed by Kovy’s antics that night.

In fact, for as long as he was a Montreal Canadien, which became five years ending in 2008-09, often he could embarrass with his fakery. He could also play like he didn’t care, and then sometimes, out of the blue, he’d be sensational, the best guy on the ice, a magician with the puck, and we’d cheer like crazy. But we never knew which Kovalev would show up, and for me personally, it was good when he finally hung up his Habs sweater.

Here’s the hand slash episode, and other moments in Kovalev’s career when he was less-than-stellar.

Habs Fall Flat

It was going so well too. The crowd was pumped and happy. There was a friendly, robust cheer for new coach Michel Therrien. The torch was passed from past captains, from Yvan Cournoyer to the Pocket, from Vincent Damphousse to Serge Savard, and then Jean Beliveau handed it to present-day captain Brian Gionta.

The torch then made its way from player to player, Alex Galchenyuk heard a nice welcome from the faithful, as did Francis Bouillon and the others. It was all very nice, because that’s what happens in Montreal – nice pre-game ceremonies. If these things won Stanley Cups, the Montreal Canadiens would never lose. Every year the bleu, blanc et rouge would hoist the hardware. It’d be a hundred in a row.

Unfortunately, once the puck was dropped on this Hockey Night in Canada affair at the Bell Centre, the Habs couldn’t get untracked. The torch thing had worn them out, I suppose.

Brandon Prust scrapped with the Leafs Mike Brown, and did a fine job. But more sandpaper is required from Prust, not just the odd fight. We’d need him to be a menace to society from start to finish.

Carey Price was good in goal, and if the Habs had decided to show some zip and pressure in the first two periods, Price might have racked up a well-earned win. But the boys in front of him were flat as a pancake, and all it does is be a reminder of days gone by.

Young Alex Galchenyuk, in his first game in the bigs, had several shots on goal, but he has to remember, these aren’t junior goalies. His wrist shots from thirty feet out will be stopped pretty well every time.

The third period was slightly better. The Canadiens showed some jump, had some chances, and finally Brian Gionta found the back of the Leafs net to close the gap to one and wake the nodding crowd up somewhat. But it wasn’t enough as the Leafs held on to claim bragging rights, at least until the next time these two meet, on Feb. 9.

Montreal’s special teams leaved a lot to be desired. The Leafs scored both of their goals on power plays, while the Canadiens went one for five on their chances. But worse than the power plays, for most of the night they didn’t storm the net and cause havoc and commotion, or show much of anything. It was like a team of Scott Gomez’ out there. And P.K. Subban was certainly missed for his passion, his fire, his shot, his skating, and his larger-than-life presence. This guy has to get signed.

Habs bow to the Leafs. I miss the lockout.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 26-22 Leafs.

The Desharnais, Pacioretty, Cole line has seen better nights. They were a B in my book, when we need an A every night. There’s only 47 games left for goodness sakes.

Alexei Emelin has picked up where he left off last year, with good, clean, bone-crunching hits that makes people keep their heads up. Emelin was a bright light in a dark and less-than-stormy opening night.

Just a dismal start. Hopefully the Canadiens can show some jump on Tuesday when Alex Kovalev and the Florida Panthers come a-callin’. They showed some in the third on this night, and maybe they liked how it felt.

 

 

 

 

Kostitsyn Whines

I have no time for players like this. Ungrateful, underachieving athletes crying and whining to the press that life sucks. 

Andre Kostitsyn, only weeks after signing a new contract for $3.25 million, slammed Jacques Martin in a Belarusian website for not using him the way he should be used. He complained that he was on the third and fourth lines far too often to really showcase his talents.

Kostitsyn has never set the world on fire, whether it was on the top line or fourth. He often seems uninterested, and he often doesn’t play the way we know he can play. Which translates to this…..He hasn’t helped his team the best he can. Not yet anyway. That’s why he was sometimes relegated to lines down the pecking order. He didn’t deserve the royal treament. AND THEY STILL GAVE HIM 3.25 MILLION.

First it was Alex Kovalev blaming coaches, now it’s Kostitsyn. Be a man, earn your money, and help your team. And quit passing the buck.

There’s nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said in succinct fashion by the Montreal Gazette’s great Pat Hickey, so just click here Kostitsyn Has Got To Go. It’s all very interesting.

Some Lowdown On Kovy And Sopes’ New Digs

With the news that both Brent Sopel and Alex Kovalev have signed with Russian teams in the Kontinental Hockey League, I thought it important that we find out a little about their new places.

Kovalev is moving to Mytishchi in the outskirts of Moscow, and will be playing for Atlant Moscow Oblast, which up until recently was the much better known Khimik, a team that was around since 1953. Other players who have played there include Igor Larionov, Valeri Kamensky, Valeri Zelepukin, Vyacheslov Kozlov, and that legendary Soviet superstar…Kyle Wellwood.

Mytishchi is famous throughout the land for constructing the first water supply in Russia to provide the Kremlin with pure water. Below is a monument heralding the big event. Kovalev should be very proud to be in such a historic water supply area.

Brent Sopel will living much farther north and east, playing for Metallurg, founded in 1949, in Siberia’s Novokuznetsk. Sopes should be right at home here, moving from Chicago where the cold winds from Lake Michigan rattled his aching bones, to the area best known for the West-Siberian metal plants, where cold winds blow around with a nice metallic scent. (Actually, aside from the plants, the area is apparently quite a tourist destination, with clubs and music and lots of good shit).

Famous ex-player of Metallurg is Flyers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Below, the scenic landscape of Novokuznetsk.

Montreal Sits Almost Pat

Trade Deadline Day saw Montreal grab Brad Richards, Jason Arnott, Dustin Penner, and Ales Hemsky, which is quite exciting, don’t you think?

No they didn’t.

It was more exciting than that, as the team sent defenceman Brett Festerling to Atlanta for goalie Drew MacIntyre. Festerling had come to the Habs from Anaheim in the Maxim Lapierre deal, who, by the way, was shipped off to Vancouver. Now, all those Canucks fans who professed their hatred for Lapierre when he was a Hab must now learn to love him to pieces.

Canucks also traded for ex-Hab Chris Higgins from Florida, which means one thing. Vancouver has just screwed themselves. Higgins is a non-achiever and a cocky soul and Vancouver fans might want to be aware that their fine chemistry isn’t so fine anymore. Of course, I don’t know Higgins personally but as a tried and true Habs fan, I know what Higgins brought to the table as a Montreal Canadien and it wasn’t much except for maybe when the team was partying and needed someone to wear a lampshade on his head.

In other news and for what it’s worth, TSN’s Craig MacTavish lists these five teams who have the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup -  Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago. Boston might be in there too but I’d just come off a graveyard shift when I heard this and things were fuzzy so I’m not sure.

Hell, Chicago might not even make the playoffs. And Pittsburgh’s two best players are on the shelf. It’s also amazing how so many TV folk are saying nice things about Alex Kovalev now. How come?

Almost A Habs Night On Saku Night

Canadiens lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks, and although it was only one point garnered for the home team, what a night it was.

Saku Koivu came back to an appreciative Bell Centre crowd and proceeded to take three penalties, one which led to Max Pacioretty tying it with 13 seconds left in the third period, which was Max’s second of the night.

It was the tying goal with Saku sweating it out on his big and emotional night.  

A lovefest in fact.

My wife asked me why Alex Kovalev didn’t get this treatment when he returned the first time and I had to explain that things are slightly different with the two. 

Storming back was a lovely thing for Habs fans, which made up a little for Brian Gionta missing the net several times and looking less than great in the shootout when he made a little move and then fell over. Although Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn also looked quite feeble in the shootout.

It was almost like the Canadiens were spent after dramatically tying it up like they did.

And when I say storming back was a lovely thing for Habs fan, maybe it wasn’t for those who wanted things to be perfect on Saku night. I don’t know. I’m hoping all Habs fans wanted a win regardless of the situation.

I’ve not been happy with Gionta lately but I sure am with Pacioretty. No wonder he complained he wasn’t getting a fair shake when he was sent down to Hamilton in the beginning. The guy’s a goal-scoring power forward and should have been with the big club from the get-go.

Our friend Danno was at the game with his dad and they, like the rest of the monster crowd of 21,000, got their money’s worth, with the Canadiens getting it together in the third period and taking over. In fact, it was only Jonas Hiller in the Ducks’ net who stole this game for his teammates. And maybe Bobby Ryan.

Kind of makes one wonder what it would have been like in Ottawa Friday night if the Senators, who allowed seven goals, had a guy like Hiller between the pipes.

Great game and a big point for the Habs. Two bad it couldn’t have been two.

Random Notes:

Mathieu Darche, who has become such an important foot soldier for Montreal, scored the Habs’ other goal.

And although I don’t like to whine too much about officiating, the hooking call on Benoit Pouliot early in the third when the team was working on grabbing momentum, just might be the worst decision this year that I’ve seen by a referee. Pouliot raced back, lifted the guy’s stick in a great play, and was sent off. It’s calls like this that the bosses look at and decide if a referee is worthy of working the playoffs or not. 

I’m thinking this guy will be golfing come post-season.

I haven’t liked the Anaheim Ducks since they came into the league named the Mighty Ducks after a stupid Disney hockey movie.

Next up – Tuesday in the City of Brotherly Greaseballs when the Habs take on the orange Flyers.