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|22 января 2013 года.
Panthers Kovalev booed in Ottawa Kuba also makes a return // South Florida Sun - Sentinel
In a tale of two cities, Panthers recently signed forward Alex Kovalev is expected to be given a hero's welcome when he hits the ice in the Bell Center on Tuesday night, where he earned captain honors for a few games while excelling in the playoffs during a four-year stint with the Habs.
However, that wasn't the case in Scotiabank Place on Monday evening, where after a raucous pregame ceremony to kick off their home opener, Senators fans booed the enigmatic, skilled 39-year-old Russian every time he touched the puck.
Kovalev, who scored his 429th goal to go with two assists in his Panthers' debut Saturday, scored 103 goals in 344 games for Montreal (2004-09). He then bolted for Ottawa for a $10 million free-agent deal, but other than notching a rare four-goal game against the Flyers, his nearly two-year stint in Ontario ended poorly.
He admittedly had communication issues with then Ottawa coach Clay Coulson and his work ethic was questioned as he managed just 32 goals and 76 points in 130 games before being traded to the Penguins for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2011 offseason.
"I really enjoyed my teammates [here]," Kovalev said while being surrounded by a media throng after morning skate Monday. "I had some good times, scoring four goals, which I had never done. Overall, in my career I try to focus on the positive things.
"I never battle with the coaches or anybody. I always try to find answers, what's wrong, because I want to help the team. Many coaches just wouldn't talk to me ... at least tell me what to do. I'm not saying they didn't have a problem with me, it's just no communication."
Kovalev said he wouldn't care about being booed in Ottawa, especially after returning to the NHL again after a year in Russia's KHL.
"Whatever it is, I'm just happy to be on the ice," Kovalev said.
Sens longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson didn't blame Kovalev for not getting past the first round of the playoffs when he was on the team.
"We, as a whole team, didn't work out together. We had two really tough years," Alfredsson said. "Give him the right situation and he'll succeed."
Conversely, while Kovalev has his detractors in Ottawa, defenseman Filip Kuba had four solid seasons here before signing with the Panthers in the offseason.
He was a plus-26 last season and played a huge part in Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson winning the Norris Trophy after leading all blue-liners with 78 points last season.
"It's weird being back. It was my home for the last four years, so it means a lot," Kuba said. "Erik is the kind of a guy who can show he can do it every season. Anybody who watches him on the ice enjoys his play and what he can do out there."
Kuba is now paired with Panthers Lady Byng Award-winning defenseman Brian Campbell.
"They both skate really well, see the ice really well, pass the puck and can direct a power play, so it's easy to play with both," Kuba said.