Newly acquired winger Alexei Kovalev spoke with the media following today's announcement that he will be returning to the Big Apple, where he began his NHL career with the Rangers in 1992.
"Just to be back where I first started is a great opportunity for me. Overall, I'm happy. I think of New York as my second home other than Russia."
"It's definitely hard. It's not easy to be traded. Pittsburgh is a great organization and gave me a great opportunity. But it's great that I have this opportunity to come back to New York where I won the Stanley Cup. I'm just going to try to help this team make the playoffs."
"I was playing a lot more in Pittsburgh (over the last few seasons) and I gained a lot of confidence. I was able to try different things. Definitely playing with Mario (Lemieux) and Jags (Jaromir Jagr) helped me a lot. I learned a lot from those guys."
"After the trade to Pittsburgh we still kept our house in Westchester, so the transition now will be a little easier on us. I really enjoy New York and am excited to be back."
"As a person, I haven't changed. Physically, I've gotten stronger. I became more aggressive and started shooting the puck more. I'm a different player than I was when I left New York and I hope to make a difference now that I'm back."
"There is so much talent on this team. We have a good four lines and we'll really need to count on everyone down the stretch."