Melnyk holds out hope for Kovalev

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

Even the guy who signs Alexei Kovalev's paycheques thinks he's an "enigma."

But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is convinced the 37-year-old underachieving winger can rediscover his game and become a consistent contributor.

"The guy is an engima, but I say that in a positive way," Melnyk told The Fan 590 in Toronto on Monday. "One day, and I'm waiting for the day, this man is just going to, I hope, explode.

"He's very capable of it and then you see the Kovalev that you know and that you've seen over the years. When he has that puck, it's just phenomenal. We're all hoping that he shows up."

For now, Melnyk is willing to wait. He won't talk to Kovalev to get him motivated.

"You've got be careful with that. Can you do it? Absolutely. Sometimes that works and sometimes that can backfire," he said. "A lot of times you just let the hockey guys do it. You step in when you start seeing the ship sink and there's a chain of a command and I think it's got to be something very serious for me to overstep that."

Melnyk admitted he's disappointed by the start to the season.

"That's not something that hasn't happened before," he said. "The last time we went to the Stanley Cup final (in 2007) we started off (slow). There's a lot of hockey left. They've got to get their act together. They know it and they've got to step up."


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