Alexei Kovalev: Wikis

  
  
  
  

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Born February 24, 1973 (1973-02-24) (age 37),
Togliatti, Russian SFSR, URS
Height
Weight
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
F. teams
Ottawa Senators
New York Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Montreal Canadiens
Ntl. team  Russia &
 CIS
NHL Draft 15th overall, 1991
New York Rangers
Playing career 1990 – present

Alexei Vyacheslavovich "Alex" Kovalev (Russian: Алексей Вячеславович Ковалёв; born February 24, 1973 in Togliatti, Soviet Union) is a Russian professional right winger currently playing for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has previously played for the Montreal Canadiens, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the New York Rangers, with whom he was originally drafted and won a Stanley Cup in 1994. His nicknames among fans include Kovy, AK-27, and l'Artiste.

Contents

Playing career

Alexei Kovalev was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, first round, 15th overall, becoming the first Russian player to be drafted in the first round. Best known for his stickhandling skills and wrist shot, he became an important part of the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run, finishing with the third-most points for New York in the playoffs. Kovalev, Alexander Karpovtsev, Sergei Nemchinov, and Sergei Zubov were the first Russians to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.[1] The Rangers' Stanley Cup win is one that Europe would never forget because of the first Russian names on the Stanley Cup, as MSG Network broadcaster Al Trautwig said in an essay for Garden of Dreams.[1]

During the 1994–95 NHL lockout, Kovalev played for his hometown team Lada Togliatti, the defending International Hockey League champion from 1994. Kovalev scored 8 goals and 8 assists in 12 games. Kovalev occasionally stops in Tolyatti to give clinics at his old hockey school.[citation needed] He also participated in the Lada Tolyatti 30th anniversary game, and scored a hat trick for the Lada veterans team.[citation needed]

Just 14 games into the 1998–99 season, on November 25, 1998, he was traded, along with Harry York, to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Petr Nedvěd, Sean Pronger and Chris Tamer. While only putting up 46 points in 63 games with the Penguins, he managed a strong effort with 12 points in 10 postseason games. The next few seasons, he recorded two of his best seasons in the NHL with 76 and 95 points.

In a trade to mainly reduce their salary, Pittsburgh sent Kovalev back to the Rangers on February 10, 2003. He was sent, along with Dan LaCouture, Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson for Mikael Samuelsson, Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner and cash.

On March 13, 2004 he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Jozef Balej and a second round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. While only managing 3 points in 12 games in the regular season, Kovalev broke out in the 2004 playoffs, where he registered 6 goals and 10 points in 11 games for Montreal.

He spent the 2004–05 NHL lockout playing for Ak Bars Kazan, in the Russian Super League (RSL), where he registered 53 points in 35 games. Kovalev played for Russia in the 2005 World Championships in Austria, and was named the tournament's best forward.

As an unrestricted free agent, he re-signed with Montreal to a four-year contract, worth $4.5 million per year, on August 3, 2005, prior to the start of the 2005–06 NHL season. He scored his 300th career goal and recorded his 700th point on December 20, 2005 against Dominik Hašek in a 4–3 win against the Ottawa Senators.[citation needed]

A popular moment for Kovalev among Canadiens fans occurred on March 25, 2006, in a game against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. After receiving a high-stick from Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker, Kovalev drove his elbow into Tucker's face in the midst of stickhandling through several players. A brawl immediately ensued and it became a moment of almost cult-like status for Canadiens fans, as t-shirts were subsequently made with a printed image of the incident.[citation needed]

In 2006, Warrior Hockey signed Kovalev to endorse their hockey sticks. Warrior designed a custom shaft known as the AK27 which caught the eye of several other NHLers, including Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chára.

In 2007, Kovalev sparked controversy when he allegedly criticized his team, coaching staff and the French media in an interview done with a Russian reporter in his native language. Though the reporter who conducted the interview later rescinded Kovalev's quotes, and the tape she used never surfaced, a majority of the fans and members of the media believe the criticism to have actually happened.[citation needed] This story was especially controversial due to the poor performance by Kovalev in the 2006–07 season, amassing only 18 goals, 29 assists for a total of 47 points.

During the 2007–08 season, Kovalev found a resurgence playing alongside linemates Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomáš Plekanec, amassing a total of 35 goals, 49 assists for a total of 84 points in 82 games. As of the season's completion, he stood at the 94th spot of the top 100 all-time NHL scorers.[2] Because of his inspired play, Kovalev was awarded the Canadiens' captaincy on two occasions during the season, replacing the injured Saku Koivu in his absence.

The following season, in 2008–09, Kovalev was named captain of the Eastern Conference at the 2009 NHL All-Star game in Montreal, and won Most Valuable Player honors as a result of his two goals, assist, and game-winning shootout goal.[3] Late in the season with the Canadiens, Kovalev scored his 100th goal with the club on March 31, 2009, against former teammate and Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet of the Chicago Blackhawks.[4] At the end of the week, he was named the NHL's first star for the week ending April 5 after scoring 2 goals and 7 assists, helping lead the Canadiens to 3 wins during that time.[5]

On July 6, 2009, as an unrestricted free agent, Kovalev signed a two-year, US $10 million contract with the Ottawa Senators.[6] On January 3, 2010, he scored a career-high 4 goals in a 7-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. [7]

Awards

  • Won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994.
  • Named NHL Offensive Player of the Week for November 6–12, 2000; November 5–11, 2001.
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 2001, 2003 and 2009.
  • Named NHL Player of the Month in February 2001.
  • Named the World Championship Best Forward in 2005.
  • Won the Molson Cup (monthly) in November 2005, November 2007, December 2007, January and February 2008.
  • Won the Molson Cup (season) in 2008.
  • Won The Hockey News' Saku Koivu Award (comeback player of the year) in 2008.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2008.
  • Won the NHL All-Star Game MVP Award in 2009.
  • Named the NHL 1st Star of the Week for March 30–April 5, 2009.

Accomplishments

  • First Russian player to be drafted in the first round.
  • First Russian player (along with Alexander Karpovtsev, Sergei Nemchinov, and Sergei Zubov) to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
  • First Russian player to be a captain of an All-Star Team
  • Captain of the 2009 NHL Eastern All-Star team
  • Most Valuable Player of the 2009 NHL All-Star game

Off the ice

Kovalev is a licensed aircraft pilot. He was referenced in the first episode of season four of the television series Alias when Michael Vaughn (played by Michael Vartan) attempted to deflect an enemy's suspicions by saying that he is often told he looks like Alexei Kovalev[citation needed].

Endorsements

Kovalev is a prominent endorsee of Warrior Hockey, making use of their range of products as a trademark which includes his own signature stick, the AK27. Kovalev was also pictured on the cover of EA Sports' NHL 95 scoring a goal on Kirk McLean of the Vancouver Canucks in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. In March 2008, Kovalev released a two-disc DVD titled My Hockey Tips and Training Methods. He is donating 100 percent of the DVD sale profits to charities that promote cardiac care for children. At age 8, Kovalev himself was diagnosed with a heart disorder that prevented him from playing hockey for two years while he underwent treatment.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1989–90 HC Dynamo Moscow USSR 1 0 0 0 0
1990–91 HC Dynamo Moscow USSR 18 1 2 3 4
1991–92 HC Dynamo Moscow CIS 33 16 9 25 20
1992–93 New York Rangers NHL 65 20 18 38 79
1992–93 Binghamton Rangers AHL 13 13 11 24 35 9 3 5 8 14
1993–94 New York Rangers NHL 76 23 33 56 154 23 9 12 21 18
1994–95 Lada Togliatti IHL 12 8 8 16 49
1994–95 New York Rangers NHL 48 13 15 28 30 10 4 7 11 10
1995–96 New York Rangers NHL 81 24 34 58 98 11 3 4 7 14
1996–97 New York Rangers NHL 45 13 22 35 42
1997–98 New York Rangers NHL 73 23 30 53 44
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 14 3 4 7 12
1998–99 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 20 26 46 37 10 5 7 12 14
1999–00 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 82 26 40 66 94 11 1 5 6 10
2000–01 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 79 44 51 95 96 18 5 5 10 16
2001–02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 32 44 76 80
2002–03 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 54 27 37 64 50
2002–03 New York Rangers NHL 24 10 3 13 20
2003–04 New York Rangers NHL 66 13 29 42 54
2003–04 Montreal Canadiens NHL 12 1 2 3 12 11 6 4 10 8
2004–05 Ak Bars Kazan RSL 35 10 12 22 80 4 0 0 0 8
2005–06 Montreal Canadiens NHL 69 23 42 65 76 6 4 3 7 4
2006–07 Montreal Canadiens NHL 73 18 29 47 78
2007–08 Montreal Canadiens NHL 82 35 49 84 70 12 5 6 11 8
2008–09 Montreal Canadiens NHL 78 26 39 65 74 4 2 1 3 2
RSL totals 99 35 31 66 153 4 0 0 0 8
NHL totals 1151 394 547 941 1200 116 44 54 98 104

International play

Medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for  Russia
Winter Olympics
Bronze 2002 Salt Lake City
Competitor for  CIS
Winter Olympics
Gold 1992 Albertville
World Junior Championship
Gold 1992
European Junior Championship
Silver 1991
Silver 1990

Played for the Soviet Union in:

  • 1990 European Junior Championship (silver medal)
  • 1991 European Junior Championship (silver medal)
  • 1992 World Junior Championship (gold medal)*

Played for the Unified Team (CIS) in:

Played for Russia in:

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1990 USSR EJC 6 4 3 7 6
1991 USSR EJC 5 8 3 11 8
1992 CIS WJC 7 5 5 10 2
1992 CIS Oly 8 1 2 3 14
1992 Russia WC 6 0 1 1 0
1996 Russia WCH 5 2 1 3 8
1998 Russia WC 6 5 2 7 14
2002 Russia Oly 6 3 1 4 4
2004 Russia WCH 4 2 1 3 4
2005 Russia WC 9 3 4 7 16
2006 Russia Oly 8 4 2 6 4
Senior int'l totals 52 20 14 34 64

Transactions

  • June 22, 1991- New York Rangers first-round draft choice (15th overall) in the NHL Entry Draft.
  • March 2, 2004- Traded by the New York Rangers to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Jozef Balej and Montreal's 2004 second-round draft choice.
  • July 6, 2009- Signed a two-year $10 million dollar deal with the Ottawa Senators.

See also

References

External links








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