Kovalev: I still have it in me

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:05 PM ET

He scored a career high 44 with the Pittsburgh Penguins seven seasons ago and has two 30-plus goal campaigns to his credit since, the last coming when he popped in 35 while playing in every one of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens’ games.

Now, at 36 years old, can Alex Kovalev hit the 40-goal mark for the Senators this season?

“I’ve only scored (40) once, but I can stay in the 30s,” the Ottawa winger said after this morning’s practice at Scotiabank Place, and nine days before team opens its season in New York against the Rangers. “I don’t see why not.

“If I just avoid hitting the post too often I’ll be fine,” added Kovalev, who had 26 goals in 78 games for the Habs last season. “I probably hit the post 40 times last year. Otherwise it would have been 50 goals.”

Asked if he feels he’s as good a hockey player as he’s ever been, Kovalev flashed his wry sense of humour.

“I’ve always been a good hockey player,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be playing hockey.”

Does he have the same speed he did when he broke into the NHL with the Rangers in 1992-93?

“I may be about 5 miles (per hour) slower,” he deadpanned. “But I can get faster.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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