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.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.
"I was lost."
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.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.
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."
Now he's the one leading the way.