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Kovalev will return to Habs' lineup vs. Senators @NHL
MONTREAL – After making headlines this week for not being in the lineup, Alex Kovalev is eager to do the same when he returns to action against the Senators.

He may not have been sold on the merits of the forced days of rest imposed by his general manager, but a reinvigorated Kovalev now feels differently about the fateful chat he had with Bob Gainey on Tuesday.

"At first, it wasn't easy for me to hear," admitted Kovalev about being asked to stay away from the team for a few days by Gainey. "I was surprised, upset and it was a tough thing to swallow. But now, 48 hours later, my mind feels fresh and I feel much better physically."

Gainey used the downtime he recommended for his All-Star winger to sit down with Kovalev and help him through his rough patch.

"I think Alex gradually isolated himself from the group by trying to find his own solutions to what was troubling him," said Gainey, who spoke to Kovy several times over the past few days. "With the injuries we've had to battle with to key players this season like Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu and Robert Lang, Alex was taking too much pressure onto his shoulders. That was a heavy load to carry."

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