Well maybe more bitter air than thin air. Kovalev let loose in one of those wonderful tell all Russian media interviews that always surface (and then get denied) just when we need them.
As he is accustomed to doing with a puck on his stick, Kovalev cut through the defence and scored some direct hits on the Ottawa organization, defensive coaches and the media.
On the media:
Sovetsky Sport: You have a reputation of showing up one night but disappearing the next. Is this a fair characterization?
Kovalev: One journalist wrote it when I was still playing in New York, and then it all started. There are such reporters, who don’t watch hockey, don’t understand it — but they will still say that Kovalev doesn’t give his all. That he plays whenever he wants. They are short on their own opinion.
Kovalev: There are different journalists. My opinion of Ottawa journalists is that they don’t watch hockey at all. When they fly with the team and go through the (metal detector) at an airport, their bags are filled with beer. You realize right away what these people do when they write about the NHL. Let them make up nonsense about me. But I am happy with what I have done.
On Cory Clouston:
Sovetsky Sport: Sergei Gonchar threw his hands in the air when I asked what style of game Ottawa plays. What do you say to that question?
Kovalev: In two seasons I still couldn’t understand the ideas of our coach Cory Clouston. It seemed that he scoffed at some players.
On the way to coach:
Kovalev: You have to treat players kindly. If you leave someone on the bench you should explain why it happened. This is coach’s job. But when a player is benched and doesn’t understand what is happening, he becomes lost.
It seems to me there are some hard truths in there:
1) Don't slam players if you are a media hotshot who is carting beer in your hand luggage. That shame is worth taking many name-calling interviews for.
2) Or don't slam those players who can invent such a believable rumour.
3) Cory Clouston was all over the map. Having your players fear you is one 3hing, having them draw a blank when challenged on team strategy is quite another.
4) Coaches who don't have the courtesy to talk to their players about their reasoning, especially those older than the coach with decades more experience on an ice sheet should be fired. it's bad man management, it's a bad plan from the start. You may remember a coach called Carbo.
Bruce Garricoh didn't take the news with grace:
Just like he did during his short, failed stint with the Senators, the selfish underachieving winger is blaming everybody but himself for why he’s out of the NHL and headed to the Kontinental Hockey League on a two-year deal.
You'd think Garrioch would get resounding "hear ye" for an article that lays one more slam on the mostly ineffective Senator from the local fans. Not so, the first sample of comments show that carting beer through x-ray detectors is a less sought after skill than stickhandling on the half boards:
Hmmm...lets compare credentials here, shall we?
Alex Kovalev: 1st Round Draft Pick in 1991. Outscored entire draft class of that year. Stanley Cup Champion. 1300+ games played. 400+ goals. 1000+ points.
Bruce Garrioch: Local hack. Fawns over popular home town players he doesn't want to lose favour with regardless of their play. Makes up quotes from fictional "league executives". May still live in mom's basement.
Yep, pretty clear to me where the sour grapes are emanating from....
You have to give it to Kovy. Yesterday, we were reading the umpteenth report on how Erik Cole will get Montreal 2 more ES goals this season. Today, we can pick between credibility of stories from Russia, coaching techniques and battle of wits for a news story. He really can strike at any time to create a thing of beauty from out of nothing.