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|26 марта 2013 года.
Ковалев сетует на то, что его заставляют завершить карьеру // "Спорт-Экспресс"
Нападающий "Флориды" Алексей Ковалев, недавно заявивший о том, что завершает карьеру игрока, хочет продолжить играть в Европе в следующем году. "Признаюсь, я не был готов к такому повороту событий, который случился. Чувствую, что все еще могу играть в полную силу, быть полезным своей команде. Именно поэтому я буду пытаться продолжить карьеру в Европе", - заявил Ковалев, который уже подписал энхаэловские бумаги о том, что его североамериканская карьера закончена.При этом россиянин не упустил возможности покритиковать "Флориду" за то, что она фактически вынудила его принять такое решение. "Признаю, что "Пантеры" дали мне возможность вернуться в НХЛ, но это не так здорово, когда решение о завершении карьеры тебе диктуют", - сказал нападающий. ( New York Times )
Retirement not my choice: Kovalev; Former Hab last played with Florida Panthers
BRANSWELL, BRENDA. The Gazette [Montreal, Que] 25 Mar 2013: B.1.
Alex Kovalev's retirement from the National Hockey League last week clearly didn't unfold the way he would have scripted it.
After signing a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers, his stint ended after just 14 games.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said on March 5, according to NHL.com: "It was just a mutual agreement that we wanted to go in a different direction, that's all."
Then, word came a few days ago of Kovalev's retirement.
The wound was still fresh when Kovalev met reporters at the Bell Centre on Sunday after taking part in a legends' game featuring Canadiens alumni and NHL stars from the 1980s and '90s.
It wasn't his decision to retire, Kovalev said.
"I didn't have a choice. That's what has kind of been the frustrating part," said Kovalev, describing the past two weeks as tough.
Kovalev said he still doesn't understand what happened.
"Started the season good and everything was going well and, all of a sudden, they started pushing me away," Kovalev said.
"And I just never understood the idea and what exactly happened. They never really explained to me - the things they've been telling me, just didn't really make sense.
"You know what, what can I do? They've done their part. They gave me a chance to go back to the NHL. It's just I feel bad I have to kind of decide to retire on somebody else's terms, not mine."
With his incredible skill set and dazzling stickhandling ability, Kovalev was dubbed l'Artiste in Montreal, where he played four seasons after the Canadiens acquired him from the New York Rangers late in the 2003-04 season. He also came under criticism over the years from pundits who found his play inconsistent.
For a player who has said he wanted to play hockey until he was 50, it's not surprising Kovalev is considering staying in the game.
"I'm hoping to find a job somewhere in Europe," he said.
He won't go to Russia - where there are "worse (hockey) politics than here," he said
"I'll just probably go in Switzerland."
He also didn't close the door to other possibilities.
"I'm still kind of recovering from everything happening," he said. "It kind of came by surprise. Sometimes you're ready for certain things and you prepare yourself.
But when it comes (unexpectedly) it's really hard to swallow and hard to really find yourself and what your next step is and what you're going to do. It's definitely not fun and not enjoyable.
"If I find something that I like outside hockey, I'm probably never going to get involved in hockey. I'll just probably stay away because it's been really tough last four years. And I need to take a break."
Asked if he was bitter about how things happened with the Panthers Kovalev said: "The thing is, I just never expected (it)."
Kovalev said he worked hard, made the team and thought he was playing well.
He received a call on his birthday on Feb. 24 telling him he wouldn't be playing.
"They just said something about timing was bad and I'm not fitting in the first two lines and out of respect to me they can't put me on the third, fourth line ... which doesn't really make sense," he said.
Kovalev arrived in Montreal on Saturday and paid a visit to Sainte-Justine Hospital. After the warm-up before Sunday's game he tossed a few pucks into the crowd and received a warm welcome when he was introduced.
"I liked every second of it," Kovalev said of his time with the Canadiens.
He experienced some ups and downs, but overall "I really enjoyed it."
"At this point, you can say I made a bad decision going to Ottawa instead of staying in Montreal (after the 2008-09 season)," he said. "Maybe I would still be playing here."
Kovalev picked up an assist in the legends' game that featured several high-profile names from the past.
The NHL All-Stars team, which included Luc Robi-taille, Marcel Dionne, Raymond Bourque and Eric Lindros, beat the Canadiens' alumni team 8-5. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Canadiens' alumni and Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin started the game wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, but ended up donning a Habs jersey when he was "traded" from the NHL All-Stars to the Habs alumni team for Chris Chelios before the third period.
Bergevin said after the game it was fun to see guys he played with and against during his NHL career.
Asked about his plus/ minus differential in the game, Bergevin cracked: "Even. I'm always even."
The Canadiens claimed forward Jeff Halpern off NHL waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday and Bergevin called him a depth player for the team with experience.
"He's going to fit the mould of what we're looking for moving forward," Bergevin said.