MONTREAL - No stranger to sick moves, Alex Kovalev will have the grandest stage of all to flash his fancy stickwork in the Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge on Saturday night.
Once Kovalev made his way to the podium to meet the media on Friday, he was his familiar self: cryptic and mysterious about what he has cooking for fans and goalies alike at the annual SuperSkills showcase.
“I just do whatever comes to mind once I touch the puck. The thing is, the more I think about it, the worse it gets,” said Kovalev. “I have enough moves in my body that I don’t need to worry about it and practice that stuff.”
Kovalev not losing any sleep in preparation for the Breakaway Challenge and Elimination Shootout comes as no surprise to fellow All-Star Mike Komisarek.
“My money is on Kovy,” revealed Komisarek, who like all 36 All-Star skaters will have his own try in the shootout. “I’ve seen this guy pull moves in practice that will leave your mouth hanging wide open. I think when he was born he came out stickhandling, so Kovy doesn’t need to practice for it. With his talent and skill the puck just sticks to his blade.”
Kovalev not only doesn’t worry much about his end of the deal when it comes to shootouts, the poor soul between the pipes isn’t of much concern to him either.
“I don’t look at the goalies I’m going up against,” admitted Kovalev. “I’m always confident that it’s going to come down to how I do, not who I do it against. It could be the best goalie or the worst goalie, it’s always going to come down to what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it.”
In the league’s first-ever draw to decide which goalies will be facing which shooter for the Elimination Shootout, Kovalev was initially matched up with Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, but that all changed during the mandatory trading session.
“Let’s get this straight, I made a trade because we all had to make one,” explained Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, who dealt Ilya Kovalchuk to Backstrom in exchange for Kovy. “I knew I didn’t want to face Kovalchuk and then I figured it was fitting for a Bruin to face a Canadien with the event being held here in Montreal and everything.”
Thomas may live to regret that decision. After all, Kovalev did put out his hot-selling instructional video only last season.
“It hasn’t been that long since I made my DVD, so I didn’t have to watch it for practice,” said Kovalev with a smile. “Don’t worry, I can still remember all the moves.”Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comRead also:Men among the starsKomo ready to open fire Kovalev earns the All-Star "C" for the East Double duty for Price