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Kovalev fan shows new colours

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Justin Payer of Gatineau meets one of his favourite NHL players, new Senators superstar Alex Kovalev, at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday. Payer was the first Sens fan to buy a new Kovalev jersey and got it autographed by the Russian forward.

Alex Kovalev and the Ottawa Senators.

In Justin Payer’s mind, it’s the perfect match.

No wonder, then, that the 18-year-old from Gatineau wasted no time purchasing a new Kovalev jersey at The Sens Store in the Rideau Centre. He became the first Senators fan to do so just two days after the Russian forward – one of Payer’s favourite players – signed a two-year contract with the team on July 6.

“I saw it and said ‘I’m definitely buying it,’ ” Payer said of the afternoon he noticed the Kovalev jersey in The Sens Store on Rideau.

More than $200 later, he’s still smiling about it. And enjoying the attention he’s received from other Senators fans that have seen him sporting his new, true colours.

“A lot of people in Ottawa noticed, screaming ‘go Kovy’ and stuff like that,” he said.

While Kovalev is “one of my best players,” Payer was no Montreal Canadiens fan during the past five seasons, when the flashy Russian forward wore the jersey of one of Ottawa’s biggest rivals in the Northeast Division.

“I’m a Sens fan all the way,” he said.

Still, he took every opportunity to watch Kovalev display his wide array of skills with the puck.

“I normally go on the Internet and watch a bit of his skills and moves,” he said. “Normally, that’s where I see all his goals and stuff.”

It’s Kovalev’s flair with the puck that won Payer over.

“I like his style of play,” Payer said when asked why he prefers Kovalev over someone like Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, one of the National Hockey League’s most popular players. “He’s got really nice hands, good dekes and stuff.”

And now he’s bringing them to Ottawa.

Count Payer – who met Kovalev on Tuesday at Scotiabank Place and got his jersey autographed by the new Sens superstar – among those most happy about it all.

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