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февраля 2002 года
Kovalev unhappy with Fetisov’s coaching - Tribune-Review
By Joe Starkey
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Penguins winger Alexei Kovalev had a miserable Olympic experience.
Kovalev finished with a bang, scoring twice in Russia's 7-2 victory over Belarus on Saturday in the bronze-medal game, but he wasn't pleased with how he was utilized by coach Slava Fetisov during the tournament.
Fetisov dropped Kovalev from one of Russia's top lines and removed him from the power play after Kovalev failed to produce a point in the first three games.
Kovalev said the experience reminded him of his days with the New York Rangers, when he was periodically benched for a lack of production.
"You know and everybody knows I could have done more if I played more," Kovalev said. "But I can't control that the trust wasn't there. He trusted the other guys more than me, but that's the way it goes. I got used to it. Same thing in New York. I'm definitely disappointed. I wanted to play and win and do something for the team."
He added, "I'm not mad at anything. That's his decision. Maybe he'll look back and think about what he should have done."
After a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over the Czech Republic, Fetisov refused to criticize Kovalev when asked why he demoted him. He put Kovalev back on a line with star center Alexei Yashin for the third period of Russia's 3-2 loss to the United States on Friday, and Kovalev scored 11 seconds into the period to ignite a rally.
Kovalev said Fetisov, the longtime Soviet star who made his coaching debut in these Games, loosened the reins for yesterday's game. He only wished Fetisov had done that earlier.
"We were out of the gold medal, so it was, `Let it go, let everybody play,' " Kovalev said. "I don't know if he got nervous (earlier in the tournament) or what, but today he wasn't going to care. He just let everybody play.
"It's hard to really tell what he has in his mind. Like I said, I'm really disappointed when they come to you and tell you, `We really believe in you. You're the one. You're the leader,' and at the same time, you're watching from the bench. It's hard to understand what he was trying to do."
Kovalev said Utah's high altitude bothered him early in the tournament, the same as it did in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. He said he had trouble sleeping and breathing and couldn't find the feeling his hands.
"I don't feel anything," Kovalev said. "The mind is not there. The thinking, what I do usually, is not there. Everything goes the opposite."
To make matters worse, Kovalev took an inadvertent stick in the face from Belarusian goaltender Sergei Shabanov yesterday. It hit him in the right eye, the same spot where he had stitches put in a few weeks ago. He was OK after the game.
The Russians finished the tournament with a less-than-inspiring victory to win the bronze medal. Kovalev had three points - finishing the tournament with four points (three goals, assist) - and his Penguins teammate, Darius Kasparaitis, chipped in with a goal at 11:20 of the first period. Kasparaitis slipped an odd-angle backhander between the pads of goaltender Andrei Mezin for his first Olympic goal in his 20th game.
"He said he was going five-hole," Kovalev said.
Kasparaitis was involved in the end-of-game, verbal confrontation with referee Bill McCreary after Friday's loss.
"As usual, we tried to blame the referee," Kasparaitis said, laughing. "It was just emotions. I think we weren't being judged fairly in the end of the game, but that's hockey."
Kasparaitis wasn't so displeased with the bronze medal. He has now won gold, silver and bronze in three Olympic appearances.
"We won something," he said.
Страничка Алексея Ковалёва на
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