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.
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.