Alexei Kovalev on a 'Mistake' During his Career; says He Got 'Greedy'

TJ Tucker
September 8, 2023  (8:21)

Alexei Kovalev can look back on his career with a lot of satisfaction. He's a Stanley Cup Champion and a three-time All-Star (as well as All-Star MVP) who played more than 1300 games in the NHL. In a recent interview with Radio Canada, Kovalev admitted there are regrets, including a big one that came about during his time with Montreal.

After mediocre seasons with the New York Rangers, Kovalev was traded to Montreal at the deadline in 2004. Over the next four seasons with the Canadiens, Kovalev reestablished himself as a top-line player while becoming a fan favourite. After 2008-09, he was a free agent, and shocked many by accepting a two-year contract with the Ottawa Senators. Kovalev made it clear in the new interview that he should have stayed in Montreal.
"I made a mistake and became a little too greedy. On the other hand, I wanted to be shown respect, which I didn't get. I wasn't asking for much more, just a small raise."

Kovalev had been getting $4.5 million a season from the Canadiens. He wanted $5 million, and Ottawa offered it.
"If I had to do it all over again, I would have accepted the Canadiens' offer rather than the Senators in the summer of 2009. There would have been a bit of bitterness, because I wanted to be recognized for what I'd accomplished for the team, but I think it would have been much better for my career. I'd probably say: OK, I'll take it even if they disrespect me a bit, but it's more important for me and my family."

"I felt good in Montreal with the organization, with the fans. I think it's thanks to them that I was so successful."

Kovalev was also asked if he thinks he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was not shy with his answer.
"I think I deserve to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame."

"If you compare me to some of the players who have been inducted, I've accomplished more. But it's not my decision."

"I deserve it because of everything I've achieved as a Russian player, both internationally and in the National League. In this day and age, it's going to be even harder for some players to get in, because of everything that's going on in the world."

Kovalev added he's fine with just being a member of the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame if he never gets the call to the HHoF.
Source: Radio Canada
Alexei Kovalev on a 'Mistake' During his Career; says He Got 'Greedy'

Should Kovalev be in the HHoF?

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