Following tonight's game vs. Atlanta, the Rangers traded right wing Alex Kovalev to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Josef Balej and a second round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Upon being notified of the trade, Kovalev met with the media.
Q: What are your thoughts?
Alex Kovalev: Well to start, I don't know. You know, I have to do better than I did before. I came in and I was happy, and I wish I could have done better with this organization. But I guess it just didn't work for me. Maybe I'll just work with a younger team. Maybe down the road, if something happens, I'll get the chance to come back and do better. Right now, I don't want to hurt a team anymore and I guess it's just time for me to move, just go back and find what I was successful at. I think that I'm looking forward to seeing. Montreal is a young team and in the playoffs. I'll get a chance to go back to the playoffs and try to be successful.
Q: Do you know why it didn't work here again?
Alex Kovalev: I don't know. I guess you try to take too much into your own hands and try to do too much and it didn't work out. There's a lot more guys here that are star players. I just didn't fit it. That's probably what I think. I just didn't fit in with this team. Maybe I will fit in better with a young team.
Q: Does it hurt? Are you shocked?
Alex Kovalev: I was expecting that they were going to trade me. They talked about it a lot, rumors have been around for a while about most of the guys, about Leetchie (Brian Leetch) and the other guys. But I knew that eventually I was going to go somewhere so I was ready for that. I tried to still play for this organization. You can't just stop playing, so I just kept working hard. Now I am just going to another team to continue to do my best.
Q: Did you feel like when you got to this team that they didn't have a sense of how to use you?
Alex Kovalev: You are always expecting that they are going to use you for what you're good at. Most of the guys saw what I did at Pittsburgh and when you come into a team, you expect that they are going to use you in the same direction. You can't just be focused too much on it, if they are not using you that way. You still can do a lot of the other things. I came back here and I scored a winning goal right way and I scored some goals from the beginning and everything was coming down. I was getting nervous. The season started and I thought I would just start everything over again. I would turn everything around and start playing better and actually we did play better. I wasn't playing that good. I didn't score that many goals, but the team was doing better and I wish I could have done a better job.