MONTREAL - Alex Kovalev is determined more than ever to win the stanley cup as a Montreal Canadien. Nobody can argue that Kovalev was Montreal's best player in the 2007-2008 season. Alex believes that the team is capable to de even better next season after concluding this season atop of the Eastern Conference.
"I can't wait for next year, says the Russian forward before leaving the Bell Centre, Monday. It wasn't the last year. There was all sorts of negative things. I even lost all enthusiasm when the team was excluded of the series last year."
"This year, the team progressed constantly, he added. We can only look ahead. We can become contenders to the Stanley cup and even win it."
Kovalev, 35, recall that young players have acquired experience during the season as well as in the post-season series. He also notes that the team possesses a good offense, scoring the most goals in the entire league, not to mention the best power play.
"All we need to do now is to be more solid defensively, he says. We need to display more regularity at the blue line. That's what we lacked in the series against Philadelphia."
"We'll also remember what we did good during the season. We will then start the new season the same way we played the last. If it's the case, we'll have no problem."
"To me, we have no reason to look back, he continued. All we can do is get better and create our own success. This team has everything it needs to be successful. I even hope all the players will be back."
A Dream Season
Kovalev has been the best through the season. He tallied 35 goals and 84 points to conclude the season 11th in the points column. He has a team high plus-18. Despite this excellent production, Kovy thinks he can do even better. Maybe we will see a sequel to his DVD.
"I try not have have negative thoughts. Personally, I can do better. I will take two or three weeks to rest and train hard during the summer."
Kovalev didn't play with the same energy during the series.
"Young guys responded well, he noted. But when things don't go your way, you sometimes try to do too much. That's probably what happened to me."
In 12 games in the playoffs, Kovalev scored five goals and amassed 11 points. But he shows a minus-4.
"The series against Boston was a tough one. The Bruins forced us to play their game. We ended up winning the series in the seventh game. But it is never easy to come back to your game afterwards, he explained."
During an interview, Kovalev was asked about his relation with captain Saku Koivu. According to a Montreal news paper, the room has become too small for both of them.
"It is another rumor, he laughed. Whoever said that is trying to ignite a fire. I don't know why."
Kovalev was hoping to represent his country at the world championship in Quebec City. But the Russian hockey authorities decided otherwise.
"Somebody sent me a text message before the playoffs. Some leaders think that I am not fast enough. I think I will have to work on my skating during the summer, he said ironically."
"I would have liked to be part of it. I am sure many Habs' fans would have drive down to Quebec. It was a great occasion for me. I am obviously disappointed. On the other hand, it will give me more time to get ready for the next season.