Kovalchuk: no decision on his availability before Monday morning

Kovalchuk: pas de décision sur sa disponibilité avant lundi matin

Ily a Kovalchuk participated in a first training with his new team Sunday. Julien, however, has indicated that a decision on his availability to face the Jets will be taken only after the morning workout, Monday.

January 5, 2020 at 13h44

Updated at 15: 00


Kovalchuk: no decision on his availability before Monday morning

Alexis Belanger-Champagne

The Canadian Press


BROSSARD — head coach Claude Julien was not able to confirm if Ilya Kovalchuk was going to don the uniform of the Montreal canadiens for the first time Monday, facing the Winnipeg Jets.

Julien stated that a decision regarding his availability in the face of the Jets will be taken only after the morning workout, Monday. Julien did not want to either reveal his intentions concerning the use he planned to make the Russian striker, 36-year-old.

“He has not played since November, has recalled Julien. When it will integrate the training, he will have to keep an eye on him because skate alone, this is not like play a match. It will be necessary to evaluate everything and discuss it with him. We would then take a decision.”

After facing the Habs on November 9 at the Bell Centre, Kovalchuk no longer has donned the uniform of the Los Angeles Kings. His contract was then terminated on 17 December and his training since that race in Miami.

Even if the training of the Canadian was optional, Sunday, Kovalchuk took the opportunity to jump on the ice for the first time with his new team. Only 10 other players in the Habs have participated in the training.

“I know that the majority of them had played (Saturday) and they were perhaps a little tired, has noted Kovalchuk. I was glad to meet – to talk, laugh and have fun with them. It gives energy, that’s for sure.”

Selected at the top of the NHL draft by the Thrashers in Atlanta in 2001, Kovalchuk has accumulated 436 goals and 423 aids in 897 parts in the circuit Bettman with the Thrashers, the New Jersey Devils and the Kings.

The adventure of california Kovalchuk in his return to North America after five campaigns in the continental hockey League (KHL) has been an end in the tail of a fish. After having amassed 16 goals and 18 helpers in 64 outings last season with the Kings, Kovalchuk has been limited to three goals and six helpers in 17 parties this fall.

It happens in Canada, while five attackers find themselves on the injured list, or Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia, Paul Byron and Matthew Peca.

“Everyone understands that this is not the savior, but he can help us, referred to Julien. We hope that he will help us. Only time will tell us.”

Kovalchuk did not want to get too wet on its own expectations, but it was a bit more optimistic than Julien.

“I have the opportunity to get more playing time and evolve on the first unit of digital advantage, said Kovalchuk. The more you play, the more you have opportunities to cause something.

“I don’t want to say too much. I know that expectations are high. This team already has all the tools. Max (Domi) is there, (Shea) Weber has a powerful launch. And my shot is still not bad”, he added in beyond a smile.

Kovalchuk has made good first impression with his teammates on Sunday. Most young people have a ready smile when they talk about the veteran, who made the rain and the beautiful time with the Thrashers from 2001 to 2010.

“He draws his sword quickly and he can put the puck where he wants it. He still has a shot,” said goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who had purchased a sweater Kovalchuk during a family trip in Russia there are about a dozen years.

A watch for Kulak

The arrival of Kovalchuk in the Canadian has also allowed the defender Brett Kulak to add a watch to its collection. As is the tradition when a player calls for a number that is already taken within his new team, Kovalchuk was given a Rolex to the Kulak to be able to wear # 17.

Kovalchuk has even engrave a message of thanks on the watch.

“Honestly, I would have agreed to play rock-paper-scissors to choose who would wear the number, said Kulak. It is generous of him. It was one of my favorite players when I was young. It is special to be able to be around them.”

Kovalchuk has always worn the number 17 in the course of his professional career in honor of the legendary hockey player Russian Valeri Kharlamov. The latter was the favorite player of his father.

On his side, Kulak had been giving the 17 with the Canadian to his arrival with the team in October 2018. It will now be the 77, in which the number favorite is 7.

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