Kovalev spent the last five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens In 78 games during the 2008-09 campaign he led the team in goals (26) and points (65), while adding 74 penalty minutes. He added two goals and one assist in four playoff games.
Born in Togliatti, Russia, Kovalev has played in 16 National Hockey League seasons between the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal. In 1,151 career games, he has scored 394 goals and 547 assists for 941 points, while adding 1,200 penalty minutes. Kovalev has added 44 goals and added 54 assists in 116 career playoff games.
In his second season in the NHL and with the New York Rangers in 1993-94, Kovalev recorded nine goals, 12 assists and 18 penalty minutes during 23 playoff games en route to the Rangers’ first Stanley Cup title in 54 years.
The 36-year-old Kovalev was the Rangers’ first choice, 15th overall (first round), in the 1991
NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by Pittsburgh on Nov. 25, 1998, along with Harry York for Petr Nedved, Sean Pronger and Chris Tamer. Pittsburgh sent Kovalev back to the Rangers on Feb. 10, 2003, along with Dan LaCouture, Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson for Mikael Samuelsson, Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard and Richard Lintner. On March 13, 2004, he was traded to Montreal for Jozef Balej and a second-round selection in the 2004 NHL draft.
Kovalev is a three-time NHL all-star (2001, 2003 and 2009). He has represented his country internationally eight times during his career, winning gold medals at the 1992 Winter Olympics and 1992 world junior championship, and bronze at the 2002 Winter Olympics.