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24 февраля 2009 года. 
Watch out for 'friends' - Kovalev // The Gazette


In another time, in another city, it might have been Alex Kovalev.

The Canadiens veteran understands the controversy that this past week has swallowed Belarusian-native teammates Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn.

And he remembers himself in New York City during the 1993-94 season - a just-turned 20-year-old Rangers rookie from Togliatti, Russia, without a mastery of English or North American customs.

Kovalev had no shortage of instant friends who were willing to smooth the waters in exchange for hitching themselves to his star.

"We all get in situations when we get in a city and make 'friends' - Russians, English or French who don't open to us who they are," he said yesterday. "They help you when you don't know the things that are around, or maybe because you don't speak the language."

Kovalev said he believes the Kostitsyn brothers knew nothing of the background of Pasquale Mangiola, an alleged organized crime figure who was arrested in Montreal recently on drug and weapons charges.

Mangiola is reported to have been friendly with the Kostitsyns and, to a lesser degree, with Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik.

Kovalev says he has seen Mangiola just once, at a restaurant during a birthday party for Andrei Kostitsyn, "and I didn't know who he was."

When he learned of Mangiola's identity, he said, "I kind of got a little nervous."

He recalled "scary" times while playing in his homeland with players being shaken down by the Russian mafia for protection.

And he recommends the Kostitsyns should ask for help solely from the Canadiens, which have player-service experts to lend them a hand.

Страничка Алексея Ковалёва на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года