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|26 апреля 2007
Reports: Kovalev vents on Canadiens // tsn.ca
Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev is at the centre of yet another media controversy.
Le Journal de Montreal and Radio-Canada in Quebec report that Kovalev recently gave an interview to Sovietsky Sports, saying he was unhappy with the way he was treated as a player this past season by the Canadiens.
According to Sovietsky, Kovalev added if things don't change, wants out of the organization. The 13-year NHL veteran told journalist Pavel Lysenkov - his official biographer - that his gripe is not with Montreal journalists, but with the team itself.
"At the end of the season, I had a discussion with GM Bob Gainey," Kovalev explained to Lysenkov. "I told (GM Bob Gainey) that I didn't want to be back on the team if I'm treated the same way as I was (this past) season."
Le Journal speculated that Kovalev could have been venting his frustrations because he was not among those chosen to represent Team Russia at the World Championship in Moscow.
In March, Kovalev was under the spotlight for his alleged remarks given to a Russian radio station in which he supposedly complained about cliques on the team, especially among francophone players and head coach Guy Carbonneau. Kovalev denied making the remarks and Le Journal de Montreal backed him, saying he was the victim of an internet hoax.
Kovalev, who makes $4.5 million US in each of his next two seasons, is coming off one of his worst seasons with 18 goals and 47 points in 73 games. "What's most important is to have fun," he said. "And for now, that's not the case in Montreal."
He was benched for most of the third period of a 5-3 loss to Ottawa on Feb. 10 and then took himself out of the lineup for seven games to heal a sore elbow. He returned on Feb. 26, the day the magazine interview appeared. Kovalev then said he had no problem with the Canadiens, who signed him to a $13.5-million, three-year contract as a free agent in 2005. Carbonneau and his teammates appeared to accept his explanations.
Kovalev also took himself out of the lineup for two games after complaining of symptoms from vertigo.
Kovalev has complained that he's frequently misunderstood and misrepresented in the media, and hinted it may eventually drive him out of Montreal.
"If you (media) are going to keep embarrassing me here, there's no reason for me to stay because I don't want to ruin my reputation and ruin my career," he said in March. "Sometimes you wonder why anyone would want to be a good player when things like that happen.
"Maybe you should just stay a low-profile player and not worry about
anything else. But I want to be the best player."