Alex Kovalev had his say at his annual golf tournament in Montreal a few days ago:
Kovy said his first choice all along was Montreal, that in a perfect world he would finish his career playing at the Bell Centre. “I was disappointed. I thought for sure I’d be staying. I couldn’t really understand what had just happened.”
“I’ve been back 4 or 5 times, and every time I see a fan on the street, they’re really disappointed”
“Maybe after two years I’ll be back. It would be nice to retire here, but it’s not for me to talk about Montreal. – I’m part of another organization. I’m going to go there and do the best I can, and we’ll see what happens.”
Kovalev said the Senators were one of the few teams willing to offer him more than a one-year contract. “Ottawa was kind of the last choice for us.”
Maybe we can examine this a little:
“I couldn’t really understand what had just happened.” Why couldn’t you understand? You’re in charge of your end of things, not your agent. If you dream of playing out your career in Montreal, don’t you make sure your agent knows this and hammers out a deal for you that suits yourself and Gainey? You’re the boss, Kovy. You pay your agent a percentage to work for you. If he ruined your plans, fire his ass. However, maybe Bob Gainey had no intention of bringing you back. In that case, forget about coming back in a couple of years like you say.
“Every time I see a fan on the street, they’re disappointed.” Yes, fans are disappointed. Okay, not every fan, but lots. You were one of the few who decided to play in the Boston series last year. But really, Kovy, most fans aren’t going to tell you good riddance even if they wanted to. Canadians aren’t like that. We’re nice to our athletes. And speaking for myself, I’m very disappointed you aren’t a Hab anymore, for what it’s worth.
“My first choice was Montreal.” And it should be. Montreal’s the greatest hockey town in the world. It’s the classiest outfit in the league. And you’re going to not only a close rival to the Habs, but a team which has never had a goalie, couldn’t get the job done in the past even with elite lineups, and has a major kerfuffle going with Dany Heatley, a guy who’d better hired a PR guy and spin doctor quickly before he’s hated even more than Sean Avery.
“We couldn’t get any better offer from anybody else.” Kovy, if staying in Montreal was your dream, what is so wrong with not taking a raise, or even a slight cut in pay? When you’ve made millions over the years, is it the end of the world if you settle for less to stay with the team you loved? And don’t you and other players realize that agents don’t hang tough for raises because they love you – it’s because they get a percentage of your salary and they want a raise too. They could care less where you go, as long as you keep paying them. So as rich as you are, money still mattered more than staying with the Habs, especially to your agent who seems to be calling the shots.
“If we didn’t sign (with Ottawa), we were going to to end up some place else for one year.” If Montreal was offering you only a one-year deal, why not take it, Kovy, because you wanted to stay? Then, all you have to do is play great, which you would do, and your chances increase substantially that you’d be offered another year or maybe two from Gainey. Then you could play out your career here like you wanted. You just had to play well, which isn’t a lot to ask.