Alex Kovalev, the man and hockey player who single-handedly made the word “enigma” a mainstay in the vocabularies of hockey people far and wide, has done “it” again. Never one to shy away from an opportunity to speak his mind, Koavlev fired off a volley of point blank shots at two specific targets today, at a press conference in Russia. Those targets were ex-Senators coach, Cory Clouston and the Ottawa (sports) media. Said Kovalev, “In two seasons I still couldn’t understand the ideas of our coach Cory Clouston. It seemed that he scoffed at some players.” He elaborated, “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.” With all that has surfaced after the season ended in regards to Clouston and his communication breakdowns, these words by Kovalev are hardly surprising. Communication inadequacies have widely been cited as the fundamental reason Clouston was let go. But Kovalev wasn’t finished there.
When asked about the media, Kovalev bit hard, “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.” It is this particular comment that will garner the most attention. No doubt, some within the mainstream, Ottawa, sports media scene will be compelled to “fire back” at the Russian. But does Kovalev have a point?
In all probability, some of Kovalev’s words were lost or skewed in translation. It is hard to believe that the enigmatic one was referring to every single sports journalist in Ottawa, there are a handful of well-reasoned and insightful sports writers in the nation’s capital (Wayne Scanlan comes to mind). But Kovalev joins a line of many former and current Ottawa Senators players who have been targets of those that cover(ed) them for the newspaper(s). Other notables include, Joe “Uh Oh” Corvo, Dany Heatley, Ray Emery and Jason Spezza.
In a Canadian market, where every aspect of the local team and those that play on it are scrutinized and examined to the fullest, a player has to expect criticism as well as tire pumping. That is the understanding. However, when sensationalist claims and constant scapegoating give way to parting shots, veiled rebuttal, etc., inquiring minds start to wonder. Is the discomfort that some Ottawa journalists impose on certain players an issue? Players talk, are former players saying, “don’t sign in Ottawa, those media jerks will run you into the ground?” Who knows?
While on the surface, it appears that Kovalev’s comments are spiteful of an organization and city where things didn’t go so well for both parties. Upon closer inspection, his arrows were directed not at the whole, but at two flawed aspects of the whole. Does Kovalev have a point? He sure as sunshine does, if only because his comments, at their root, have been corroborated by other players. With that said, Kovalev is the last person who should be lobbing bombs. His actions do not exactly give much credence to words.
On a weekly basis, I, Derrick Brose, will summon the far reaches of my being, scouring my innards for every shred of hockey and Senators related knowledge and instinct in an attempt to answer a burning question.These questions will vary from week to week, but be assured, each question will be burning, each question will predominantly, but not exclusively, pertain to an Ottawa Senators related issue, and each question will be subject to the full extent of the Brose psyche.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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