So the Ottawa Senators signed Alexei Kovalev yesterday to a two-year, $5 million contract.
Because Kovalev has routinely shown up in games against the Senators, Sens fans may not realize exactly what they’re getting in the Russian player.
So for my friends who are Sens fans, here is a guide to what to expect from Alexei Kovalev.
1) Contrary to popular opinion, Alexei is not Kovalev’s first name. That’s an urban legend. His real first name is “The.” His middle names are “Enigmatic Alexei.” While some broadcasters like to shorten his name to Alexei Kovalev, be prepared for a lot of media personalities calling him by his full name, “The Enigmatic Alexei Kovalev.” You’ll be sick of this name by November.
2) You’ll also be hearing a lot about how talented Kovalev is. You’ll hear lines such as “he’s the most talented player in the league,” and “when he’s on, there’s no one better.” Just keep in mind that he has never won an individual award (or even been nominated for one). Check that, he did win the 2008 Saku Koivu Award for comeback player of the year. Usually an award like that goes to a player who misses time because of an injury. For Kovalev, it was a comeback from a season where he had 47 points in 73 games. Quite a comeback, indeed.
3) Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray was quoted as saying this about Kovalev: “When I watched our team play the last couple of years against Montreal, every time he came on the ice, I was scared to death he was going to be the difference in the game and some nights he certainly was.” Trust me Sens fans, get ready for a lot of nights where you’ll be scared to death every time he comes onto the ice.
4) While $5 million a year sounds like a lot, Sens fans will be relieved to learn that they are actually getting two players with this signing. There’s the Kovalev that spouts off to Russian newspapers about how horrible his team is and how bad the coaching is, and then there’s the other Kovalev that will deny ever saying that to the English media. So rest assured Sens fans, you’ll be getting two Alexei Kovalevs with this signing.
5) Kovalev has a reputation for taking shifts off once in a while. This is completely untrue and he deserves more credit than that. The truth is he’s been known to completely disappear for weeks at a time. And just when you get frustrated enough with him, he’ll re-appear for a three-game stretch where he gets 10 points in three games, before disappearing again. And just wait until you see the impact that will have on the team’s younger players, who will all want to emulate the great Alexei Kovalev.
6) Finally, there is one moment that will automatically endear Kovalev to Sens fans. He likes to stick up for himself. He’s not afraid to stick someone if they are playing dirty against him. With that said, enjoy the best Kovalev highlight of all time, in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.