“Hockey in Russia has become much better,” Kovalev said. “There are a lot of European players who go and play there, and the KHL wants to bring good hockey back. They’ll do whatever it takes.”
“They’ll try to bring a lot of NHL players to the KHL. There are a lot of factors that can attract them: money, the game, a lot of new arenas, everything’s going in the right direction. And for Russian players, they can make more money at home and not pay the high taxes they do in North America.”
Kovalev still holds some hard feelings about the way things ended with the Florida Panthers and also didn’t seem to happy with the direction the Russian Olympic team seems to be headed in 2014.
While he spoke of being more motivated than ever to hit the gym (and shoot for a stated goal of playing hockey until he’s 50), the 40-year-old seems a little jaded about the sport.
“It feels that people don’t care about the hockey anymore,” Kovalev said about the way things ended with Florida. “It’s just a business — trying to save money and free up cap space for young guys.”
Perhaps that’s why he barely shrugs his shoulder at a decision that shocked so much of the hockey world.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.