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Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Alexei Kovalev takes his game to the Internet


TORONTO -- Alexei Kovalev continues to be a man of mystery, a man full of surprises. He should make Dos Equis his beer of choice.

I was surfing the Internet yesterday, went to RDS' Web site, and what did I see? Kovalev's new blog on the French-Canadian sports network's Web page -- the one and only network that carries all of the Montreal Canadiens' games.

Um, Alex, you signed with Ottawa this season, remember?

OK, to be fair, RDS also broadcasts some 20-plus Senators games and the network is very much available in the Ottawa area to the sizable French-Canadian populace there. RDS is considered by the Senators as an important broadcast partner.

But let's be serious, RDS is about the Habs and it's intriguing to see Kovalev start up a blog on its site.

Not that he's really writing it. As clearly underlined at the bottom of the first blog posted this weekend, Kovalev's comments are collected by RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie, translated into French, and assembled into a blog. The first one was well done, as Kovalev commented on the locker-room differences between Ottawa and Montreal, how badly he felt for former teammate Andrei Markov's injury, Sergei Kostitsyn's initial refusal to report to Montreal's AHL club and Daniel Alfredsson's excellent communication with younger players in Ottawa.

The first blog generated positive responses from readers. Kovalev was an extremely popular player in Montreal.

You know what? I say good for Kovalev and RDS. The blog carries a link to his charitable foundation (http://www.kovalevfoundation.org/home.html). The more readers, the more donations!

When I asked Kovalev about it today after the pregame skate at Air Canada Centre, he seemed a bit sheepish about it.

"I'm not a journalist or whatever," Kovalev said. "I just said, 'We'll try it and see how it goes. If I don't like it, I don't like it.' I don't even know exactly what it is and how it's going to go. I guess it's, or I don't know, if it's going to be updates around the league or updates on me or whatever it is. To tell you the truth, I haven't even seen it [yet]. From what I understand, it's going to be kind of like a blog."

Senators senior PR man Phil Legault said the team is well aware of it and correctly pointed out that Antoine Vermette also wrote a blog on RDS.ca when he was a member of the Senators.

But Vermette wasn't a former Canadiens player. And not just any former Canadiens player. Kovalev, as most people know, didn't want to leave Montreal. He loved it there. But the Habs cut the cord on July 1 after failing to re-sign him before the start of free agency.

So, I asked Kovalev, is the blog a little needle for the Habs?

"I don't even want to talk about that," said Kovalev. "It's in the past."

Kovalev also did a blog for a Russian site last year in the Soviet Sport newspaper, so he's no rookie at it.

"But I'll keep my night job," he said.