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сентября 2003 года.
Rangers' Playoff Key: Kovalev - Newsday
By Arthur Staple
The list of Rangers crucial to the team's success this season is long. It probably contains goaltender Mike Dunham. Brian Leetch, whenver he gets healthy, is on there and Eric Lindros, of course.
But the maddening truth for Glen Sather's gang might be that The Mercurial One, Alex Kovalev, is the guy who can lead this team back to the postseason. Kovalev showed more than a few flashes of his particular on-ice genius over the weekend, scoring twice in the Rangers' preseason opener in Dallas on Friday then adding three assists in Detroit the next night.
"He's a special player," said Petr Nedved, who has been Kovalev's center since the start of training camp. "There aren't too many guys in the NHL who can beat people one-on-one like he does, and we have to take advantage of that."
Sather was in his stockpiling mode when he plucked Kovalev from the Penguins in an eight-player, $4-million deal on Feb. 10. Kovalev had been on his way to his third straight Top 20 scoring season in Pittsburgh, but once the Rangers reacquired him, he reverted to the form he showed before he left New York. Kovalev looked a little lost and unsure of himself. He had the game-winner against his former team on Valentine's Day, but had only 10 points over the final 21 games as the team frittered away a postseason shot.
"That was really the hardest part because the team didn't have too many games left and we pretty much had to win every one," said Kovalev, who was plugged into each forward position during the final quarter of last season.
The role he perfected while in Pittsburgh is one he'd like to have with the Rangers: point man on the power play. He was there on Saturday in Detroit, with Bobby Holik clogging up the slot, and the Rangers had three power-play goals.
And his ease playing with Nedved and Jan Hlavac is showing.
Kovalev played on the Penguins' top line with Robert Lang and Martin Straka for two seasons, the second of which Kovalev had a career-high 95 points. "It's good to try and keep things the same for most of the year," he said.
Kovalev's status as top scoring option should stay the same. Pavel Bure's unofficial retirement not only helps the Rangers, it helps Kovalev, who never quite took over on offense last season with so many options around.
This year, he's the man. "When you have a great player like Alex, you have to use his talent," Hlavac said. "He can score lots of goals, so you just try to get him the puck and get out of the way."
Notes & Quotes: The Rangers sent forwards Lucas Lawson, Cory Larose,
Garth Murray, Jed Ortmeyer and defensemen John Jakopin and Craig Weller
to Hartford, trimming the roster to 29, including injured defensemen Brian
Leetch and Vladimir Malakhov . . . Dominic Moore, who had goals in both
games he played over the weekend, and fellow youngster Juris Stals are
still around. Defensemen Fedor Tjutin, Bryce Lampman and Lawrence Nycholat
are still with the big club as well ... The Rangers visit the Blue Jackets
in Columbus tomorrow and host the Jackets Thursday.
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26 марта. Голливуд ждет Алексея Ковалева - Советский
26 марта. Голливуд ждет Алексея Ковалева - Советский Спорт