Saturday, March 22, 2008

A portrait of Alexei Kovalev

Hockey fans are lucky to have Roy MacGregor chipping in with hockey coverage once in a while, and in today's paper, he gives us an in-depth look at Alexei Kovalev:
"I wanted to prove something," Kovalev agreed. "I couldn't do anything about what people had said about me, but I could do something at the world championships. It was my only chance. When I didn't get asked to play, that really kind of killed me.

"I was lost."
Far too often, a foreign player like Kovalev, or Jaromir Jagr, gets written off as enigmatic — incomprehensible and strange, or at least impenetrably so for the average reporter on the beat.

This, however, is a look at Kovalev unlike any I've read before, and you get a real sense of not only who he is, but what has motivated him to excel again.

He's also portrayed as more than an enigma:
He also reached out to fans, at one point flying his Cessna 414 from its base airport at White Plains, N.Y., to a small town in the Gaspé region where the mayor, a fanatical Canadiens fan, had invited the star. He arrived with signed jerseys and sticks and stayed for days — at one point smacking up the mayor's beloved motorcycle.

But no matter, the story got out and impressed people. "There are players who come from right here in Montreal," one hockey reporter said, "who wouldn't make an effort like that."
He's on pace for 36 goals and 84 points this season, which is the second best NHL season of his career at age 35. Seven years ago, he may have had more goals and points, but he was riding shotgun on the Mario and Jaromir Show.

Now he's the one leading the way.

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At 2:01 p.m., March 22, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

Dave Stubbs of the Gazette also did a really nice audio feature with Kovalev a couple of months back. It's in the HI/O podcast archives if you're interested; it's about 37 minutes but well worth the listen.

At 3:26 p.m., March 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to this great read James. Kovy is definitely in a positive groove. Habs fans are loving it.

BTW, nice blog entries.

~ true&knowledgeable

At 1:43 a.m., March 23, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

That was a great piece: thanks for the link. MacGregor is one of the best at really getting inside the heads of athletes and figuring out what makes them tick. It's really interesting to see Kovalev doing so well again these days, given how he never really seemed to reach his potential before this.

At 1:22 p.m., March 23, 2008, Blogger Roller E said...

Kovy was/is one of my favorites in the game. He was the first player I really was pissed about when he was traded from pittsburgh


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