Tag Archives: Ilya Kovalchuk

Russians Dismissed

Kolyma_road00

Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeny Malkin and other Russian players are seen here in northern Siberia after losing to the Finns 3-1 in Olympic quarterfinals action today in Sochi.

What a disappointment this must be to the Russian nation and Prez Putin.

In fact, Putin is probably more than mildly upset and I’d advise Pussy Riot to stay out of his way for a day or two.

Ilya And Foul Balls

I think I’ve got the facts straight about this Ilya Kovalchuk thing.

With twelve years and 77 million dollars remaining on Kovalchuk’s New Jersey Devils contract, he announced his retirement and said he was going home. Home to play for St. Petersburg SKA, for a reported $15 million dollars over four years. He’s not from St. Petersburg, he’s from north of Moscow, but he likes it in the place that Peter the Great had workers build on stilts in a marshy swamp.

Needless to say, plenty of workers died, or got bitten by way too mosquitoes if they didn’t.

People are mad at him on Twitter. Jeremy Roenick says he’s livid that the Russian would bail out on his team like that. Others say that too. As far as Lou Lamoriello goes , it’s sympathy for the Devil.

Sometimes teams go through hard times when they get ripped apart. People are sad. It becomes less yachting time and more rebuilding time. It’s heartbreaking for other billionaires to witness.

I agree what Kovalchuk did might might have been a little underhanded, but the fact remains, he wanted to move back to his homeland. He likes it there. Russia’s a place where, if you’re loaded, it can be excellent to be in. And of course any Russian player prefers Russian cooking to North American fare. It goes without saying.

I myself prefer Canadian food. Pizza, spaghetti, curried chicken, tacos.

If Kovalchuk doesn’t have any scruples, who are we to judge? It’s not like owners and GMs have never screwed players. And if I played in the KHL and yearned to return home to Canada, I might be unscrupulous and bail out too.

I shouldn’t even talk about this kind of thing. I don’t understand any of it. Turning your back on $77 million is quite a thing. And how do you think New Jerseyans feel? Some Russian wouldn’t live there even for 77 million bucks.

In other news –

A guy in the stands caught four balls at a Cleveland Indians game.

I came close getting one once. And my first wife and our friends Reg Fox and Pat can testify. We were at a game at Shea Stadium, sitting high behind home plate. I got up and went to get a hot dog or something, and while I was gone, a foul ball landed on my seat.

 

 

 

 

Money Sure Can Talk

I must be pretty dense. All along I thought Ilya Kovalchuk was flirting with staying with his St. Petersburg SKA team because he loved his country so much and was finally eating his favourite foods again.

It barely registered on me that SKA, and probably the KHL head comrades, were offering him millions to stay. How come I’ve been so clueless? Kovalchuk has 13 years left on his 15-year, $100 million Devils salary, so if there’s one thing we must realize about the KHL, is that there’s some serious rubles floating around if they can get the guy to even think about it.

Slightly different from 1972, when Soviet players who didn’t dress for the four Summit Series games in Moscow had to buy their own tickets to get into the rink. Or those same National team players who were paid $200 to $400 a month for the honour of playing for their country.

Apparently Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk will be returning to North America following Sunday’s KHL All-Star game. A contract is a contract, whether North American food sucks for the guy or not. Kovalchuk’s a great player, a sniper with a deadly shot, and New Jersey fans must be happy this staying home talk is coming to an end.

Hockey? I’m Not Ready Yet

I woke this morning to the news – that NHL brains have made a sharp u-turn and hockey will begin again, maybe on January 15, maybe on January 19. (Details can be found on 8,537 news and sports sites).

I’m not ready for this. I’m not finished talking about Gary Bettman and rich hockey players yet. It’s too soon. It’s only January and it’s cold. Hockey should be played where it’s hot, like in Phoenix and South Florida. And how am I supposed to blog about actual hockey games forty-eight or fifty times in the next while when I’m out of shape? Players need training camp? So do I.

I just hope Bruins fans and others don’t keep bringing up the shortened season after Montreal wins it all. It’s going to be a nice, handy excuse for them – that they were just getting going and if it was any longer, they would’ve made the Habs look like the German junior team. This is what we’re up against. It’s gonna suck but we have to be ready for it.

I really was in a no-NHL-state of mind. I’d learned to occupy myself other ways on nights when hockey wasn’t being played. Like watching Sportsnet and TSN go on and on and on about hockey not being played. Good, quality entertainment.

I’m worried for some. Scott Gomez was on a roll with his Alaska Aces, notching six goals and seven assists in just eleven games. Now what? Now he has to stop scoring again. You have to feel for the guy. And Brad Marchand is only halfway through his grade seven course and will have to either stop completely or do homework on planes.

Maybe I can help Marchand, with this advice that comes via Eddie Shack. When Shack was playing, one of his teammates in the dressing room asked him how far he got in school, and Eddie said grade eight. When the other player asked how he managed to get so far, Eddie said it was easy, he’d lend the teacher his car.

It’s not just Gomez or Marchand. They all have to go back to work now. I know this feeling. A nice two or three week holiday and then I’m back in the thick of things and it’s hard. The players have been laying around and golfing and traveling to New York for six months now. Imagine what they’re going through. Hopefully they were able to keep busy. David Booth probably had a nice time blowing bears’ brains out, and Evander Kane had a nice picture taken of himself in Las Vegas holding a couple of three inch wads of bills and pretending the money was a phone. Now that’s fine humour. That’s how you keep busy.

I feel for the owners. Now they have to act like nice people when they show up at their private boxes, and that means they’ll have to tip the $9 an hour person who brings them their 20-year old scotch. Hollywood people can act like they’re nice and normal because they’re actors. Owners don’t have this luxury. They have every other luxury, just not this one.

What about Russian fans who’ve been flocking to KHL games this year? My stepson Denis in St. Petersburg says hockey in Russia has never been so exciting and invigorating to fans there. Now these players who took jobs have to come back to North America and not take anybody’s job and fans in the old country will be left with the team that once was. It’ll take some getting used to. And it’ll be nice for the captain of St. Petersburg SKA to get his “C” back now that Ilya Kovalchuk won’t be needing it anymore.

Can Montreal do well this year? It’ll be a sprint instead of a marathon, and who knows? It depends on how many games before Andre Markov gets hurt, and whether the power play can score sometimes. Maybe Alex Galchenyuk will be in the lineup! Let’s just embrace what we’ll have – a short race to the finish line. It’ll be over before we know it. Then we can get back to what we’re used to – no hockey.

 

 

 

Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah

St. Petersburg SKA cheerleader cheers her team on. Maybe she’s singing –

“Rah rah sis boom bah,
Let’s go comrades, let’s go SKA
We need a goal, so send out Kovalchuk,
And about the NHL – who gives a flying $#%^&”

Photo taken by Denis Brel. And if you can read Russian, you can see his breakdown of how certain players like Malkin and Ovechkin and others are doing in the KHL right now – Brels Hockey

Make My Day And Stay

Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Kostitsyn, Pavel Datsyuk and a few other Russians are now saying they might just stay in Russia. Are you feeling bad about this?

Nobody forced these guys to come to North America, and when they did come, the vaults were opened and they dove in head first, drooling and panting. Now they’re saying that if some kind of pay cut happens from this ridiculous lockout, they just might stay home.

Please stay home. We really don’t want you. You only play for the money anyway. The Stanley Cup isn’t at the top of your list, money is. After that it’s the Olympics and World Championships. Then some borscht and black bread. The Stanley Cup comes in fifth, after money, Olympics, the Worlds, and borscht and black bread. Ungrateful swine, the bunch of you. North American hockey will survive without you, thank you very much.

Is this the end result of the wonderful ’72 Summit Series, Canada Cups, and the New Year’s Eve Habs-Red Army clash in 1975, all of which caused closed doors to slowly open, and years later you marched in to a handshake and wheelbarrows packed full of Amerikanski dollars? What a sad legacy to such historic hockey meetings. Maybe the Summit Series and Canada Cups should never have happened and we wouldn’t have ever had to hear the sorry names of Kostitsyn and Kovalchuk and the others.

Even my wife, who is from Russia, says they’re only here for the money, that they’re not like Canadians, that they don’t have hockey in their blood. In fact, she’s not even surprised when I tell her these guys are threatening to stay home. “Let ‘em” she says. “They’re a different bunch.” And this from a Russian lady who loves her homeland but has these dudes all figured out.

You took jobs from players here and now you’re taking jobs from players there. And Sergei Kostitsyn, it was good riddance when you left Montreal, and now I hope I can say it again if your promise to leave this continent permanently comes to pass. Kovalchuk? Your 15-year, 100 million dollar deal with New Jersey might not cut the mustard if you have to give up some? And did you really have to take the captaincy for SKA in St. Petersburg? Wasn’t the old captain there doing his job? Ovechkin? You’re overrated, teams have figured you out, and now you sulk like a Russian baby. And your acting in commercials is much better suited for Russian TV, believe me. Frankly, I find you more than slightly goofy.

Please stay in the old country. All of you. Make Russian fans happy. And while you’re making them happy, you’ll be making me and many others happy too.

Wanna See Some KHL?

My Russian stepson Denis Brel went to a KHL game a few days ago in St. Petersburg, and it just happened to be Ilya Kovalchuk’s first game at his new home rink after returning to his homeland due to the lockout. Denis says the rink holds 12,000 people, but 14,000 squeezed in, because to see Kovalchuk was a big thing on this night.

The video is 16 minutes long, and please don’t mind the semi-darkness at the beginning, which lasts about 55 seconds. Denis started filming as the lights weren’t quite turned on, and carries on from there. And once they’re on, we see the cheerleaders lined up and the players introduced, and then it’s on to game action.

I think it’s all very interesting, and the fans seem to be having fun. Home team SKA won 7-2 on this big night, but what surprises me is that Kovalchuk (#17 in blue) has been made captain of SKA, even though his season could last just weeks or a few months. So NHL players aren’t just taking jobs over there, they’re taking captaincies too.

Denis’ website, which he shares with his dad Anatoli, who is one of the leading hockey historians in all of Russia, (and I say that without hesitation), can be seen here. – Brels’sHockey

Devils Still Breathing

The New Jersey Devils edged Los Angeles 2-1 in a feisty and puck-bouncing game five, with pucks rattling off goal posts, sticks slicing people’s faces, and Martin Brodeur being great and also lucky. So the series continues, with L.A. now holding a slight 3-2 game advantage, and feeling not quite as good about themselves as they were a couple of games ago.

The Stanley Cup remains packed away, until Monday at least. I’m hoping it goes seven. (please see previous post Drama-Hoping for more on this).

It’s a bad/good situation for Kings’ owners Philip Anschutz and Ed Roski Jr. Bad because their team can’t close it off, and good because it means another home game with a whole bunch of extra big-time dollars to be stuffed into their pockets from ticket and beer sales. Sometimes losing pays off in a big way.

L.A. players have to be nervous, and the Devils now find themselves with some serious hope. This is much better than a sweep or a five-game series. And from this Hab fan’s perspective, it’s always nice to see camera shots of Larry Robinson behind the bench. Kind of chokes me up.

Have you noticed that with all the beards out there, everybody looks the same? It’s like two teams full of Smith Brothers. I’m starting to dislike the beard thing. I’ll bet the wives are too. Maybe players need something new for playoff tradition, something that doesn’t make them all look alike. How about not showering for the playoffs? At least they wouldn’t have to worry about fans and media bothering them.

It’s also worth noting that if New Jersey really wants to climb all the way back, the Devils trainers might want to give Ilya Kovalchuk some smelling salts. Or at the very least, a good swift kick in the ass.

Babbling After The Cheez Whiz

You haven’t asked but I’ll tell you anyway. I’ve got time after polishing off my cheez whiz on Russian rye and lemon drink concoction that is supposed to be healthy and kills enemy cells but I really have no idea.

Would I like to see Alex Ovechkin play for the Habs?

No.

But I’d take Evgeny Malkin or Ilya Kovalchuk in a heartbeat. Pavel Datsyuk too.

And if Montreal went out and got Alexander Semin, whom I suppose is available on the market, then I hope a lockout happens and isn’t resolved until it’s time for him to retire.

If Montreal got Semin, I don’t even want to be stickboy. That’s how bad it is. You ever see him fight?

As for Ovechkin, I think players and coaches around the league have him figured out. You just have to be careful when he has the puck close in because he has such a wicked shot. Other than that, I can do without the flair and high maintenance. Unless Washington wants Gomez, Bourque, and Kaberle in return. Then welcome Ovie! Can I get you anything?

And yes, I know you’ve seen this Semin fight a million times, but I’m showing it again in case there’s the odd person out there who just got out of prison or was living in a monastery in Tibet for the past several years.

 

 

Rangers And Kings Up By One

Things are going as Hollywood producers might hope. Los Angeles on one coast and New York on the other take their openers in their bid to meet each other in the Stanley Cup final.

The Rangers blank the Devils 3-0 on home ice Monday night, and regardless of how well the Devils played, as Glenn Healy kept reminding us, the name of the game is to score goals. You can’t win if you don’t score, and Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and the rest couldn’t score.

So the opener goes to the Rangers, while Los Angeles, with their 4-2 win the other night against the Coyotes, gets theirs too. It’s never a bad thing to skate away with a game one victory. In fact, it’s a great thing. Much better than losing game one.

The movie studios are considering the cast as we speak.

Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter win be played by Sean Penn.

 

While Paul Michael Glazer will take on the role of Rangers coach John Tortorella.

 

Of course, it’s only game one in what could be two very long series. So if New Jersey and Phoenix end up in the finals, producers are considering Randy Quaid as Jersey coach Peter DeBoer.

  

And there’s no word yet on who will play Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, so for the time being, I’ll just throw in Nick Nolte.