Kovalev denies he's thinking about trade

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 PM ET

LONG ISLAND His detractors might say somebody should have woken up Alex Kovalev with a shot in the head a long time ago.

Or what the Senators winger is doing now is auditioning for a job as Sidney Crosbys linemate before the trade deadline.

But maybe, just maybe, all the aging Russian needed was a few days under the hot sun to recharge his battery.

Whatever the real reason, Kovalev has returned from the all-star break with new-found jump and his familiar scoring touch. After a three-point night Wednesday, Kovalev now has two goals and two assists in the past two games.

The sudden production has come with Kovalev wearing the disguise of a brawler.

In the game before the break, he was sitting on the bench when a puck hit him in the face, breaking a cheekbone and his nose.

Only now are his two shiners starting to disappear.

Its all right, Kovalev said of his nose. It just gets hit all the time. Soon as you get it once, then they keep hitting it.

Kovalev denied the tongue-in-cheek theory hes taking out his frustration at being hit on opponents.

Im not mad at anybody, he said. Its one of those things, sometimes every thing works for you, whatever you do, and sometimes just whatever you do ... you may be trying too hard or whatever it is, but nothing works.

Kovalev, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, says hes not dwelling on the possibility he could get dealt before the Feb. 28 deadline.

Im not thinking about it right now, he said. Whats most important is how Im playing, and if Im helping the team or not. We had a break, we talked about coming back and turning things around. We still have a lot of games to play.

Im not going to discuss rumours or what other people are saying. What happens, happens.

Asked if he has ruled out in his mind any chance of returning to Ottawa, Kovalev, who turns 38 this month, provided an interesting answer.

Its not up to me, he said. I just love to play hockey. Doesnt matter wherever I play. For me, its important how Im playing and if Im helping the team win. Im not from this country. Im from Russia. So for me just coming here, and show how good we can be, and how much you can help the team win the game. Doesnt matter for me, sign with Ottawa or somebody else. For me, its important if Ive still got a job. Thats what makes me happy.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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