Monday, January 08, 2007

The Kovalev Enigma - Part 2

Алексей Ковалёв

In a previous post a while back, I spoke about the enigma that is Alex Kovalev - talented and infuriating.

Talented because the guy does things with a stick and puck few mortals can, and infuriating because he chooses to dangle and display his phonebooth stickhandling skills during the course of games well underway.

Occasionally, he wakes up, does something brilliant to change the course of a game, a goes back to diddling again. Such is the enigma of the man!

I've had many Canadiens players drive me absolutely nuts in this manner before.Usually I decided very fast whether I liked them or hated them. I Kovalev's case - I like him AND hate him!

At least he hasn't taken any more seven minute shifts of late!

This post would be the visual counterpart to the previous one. Here, from game highlights and clips taken from practices drills, you can see just what type of player we are dealing with. Be forewarned that he executes some of the drills so quickly, you will need to watch them more than once to actually see what he's doing.

I'll begin the videos with the skills drills Kovalev puts himself through in the hours away from team practices.The first is just some showing off (what he does best!) juggling the puck on his stick.

The next two are his favorite little drills, stickhandling and skating around perfectly placed pucks and cones and whatever else he can find to get in his way. Notice none of them get moved!

Here he is firing pucks down ice into a net at the opposite end. It's difficult to see where they hit the net, but as you can hear the witnesses attest, he's putting them high.

This is my favorite Kovalev clip ever! His sticking to hockey here, Slapshot style! Watch him smoke Toronto's well deserving Darcy Tucker with an elbow to the chops while carrying the puck towards him. Priceless!

Here are some of his better plays from the 2005-06 season.

Finally, is you can stand to hear the Russian national anthem play out, these are Kovalev's international highlight reel moments.

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