Breaking News: Kovalev Traded to MONTRÉAL!!

Bob Gainey made a big move, folks!! Tonight he obtained Right Winger Alexei Kovalev from the New York Rangers in his quest for playoff success.In exchange for the talented winger, Gainey had to give to the New York Rangers promising winger Josef Balej & a 2nd rounder in 2004.

Kovalev isn’t exactly the power forward the Habs really needed but he is certainly one of the best puck handling guys of the league.

He will get plenty of ice time to show his skills and will be paired with either Saku Koivu or Mike Ribeiro which will give the Habs 2 powerful offensive lines.

On the other hand the Habs gave alot for an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Josef Balej will be very good and as already shown he has lots of potential and a 2nd rounder is nothing to spit on.

So this is clearly a proof of the organization’s desire to win in these playoffs and the Habs will have to be taken very seriously this year.

Montréal have won their last 5 games and are now heading to a Western road trip…

Kovalev has 13 goals and 29 assists in what can be considered an off year for him so far.

Balej, 22, has played 55 games this season for the Hamilton Bulldogs, scored 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points.

Update: My take on the trade… This is a very good move by Gainey to bring an amazing scorer to compliment Either Koivu or Ribeiro (he’ll probably play with Koivu). We haven’t had a pure goal scorer like that since Stephane Richer in Montreal, so it’s about time.

However, If we can’t resign Kovalev and lose him to the UFA’s at the end of the year, it’ll mean we overpayed BADLY for his services. Bob Gainey is an experienced GM and knows what he is doing though so you can bet he’s had talks with Kovalev’s agent before pulling the trigger. I guess we’ll have to wait and see… for the moment, this is very exciting for us. Bob Gainey isn’t done dealing yet and I see another big name coming to town soon. He proved with this deal that he wants the team to go far THIS YEAR.



99 Responses to Breaking News: Kovalev Traded to MONTRÉAL!!

  1. movingfire says:

    Who can afford him…..close to 3 mill is a lot to pay a guy to only win faceoffs

  2. movingfire says:

    We got lots of small talent….need a game-breaker and that is what Kovalev is…

  3. Tradedude says:

    Good trade Gainey!

    Josef Baleg IS a very good prospect but the canadiens have tons of young up and coming talent with them still seeing a first round pick this year (so far). This kind of reminds me of the Bondrea deal.

    Just like Healy said last night on TSN, it is much more easier to deal for a forward than a defenseman, and I’ll give credit to the habs on this one.. I still think they should get rid of Ribiero because of his *****yness, dont get me wrong he’s one heck of a player but your team will have trouble if you have fights in practises. Just a thought.

    I still don’t understand why they have to make it to the third round of the playoffs.

  4. Lint07 says:

    Saku Koivu SPEARED Mike Ribeiro in the stomach in this infamous practice.

    He then CROSS-CHECKED Ribeiro in the face.

    THEN A fight between the two broke up.

    This leads me to 3 questions:

    1. Wouldn’t have you reacted the same way Ribeiro did and fight back with Koivu who started the whole thing? If not, you have no character at all.

    2. How can you blame Ribeiro for being ”attacked” by his own CAPTAIN??

    3. Why did you have to bring this stuff back when Montréal won their last 5 games since this fight??

    Trading Mike Ribeiro would be the stupidest thing to do. I don’t have a clue why you would want to do that.

  5. guinsfan4life says:

    Actually people around the National Hockey League close to Kovalev has said that after he becomes a UFA and depending on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement, he would like to return to pittsburgh because he misses it here. I’ll try to find the link where I read that…it was in a pgh paper. The reasoning behind it is because if the CBA goes the way it needs to go and the penguins can find finances for a new arena, Patrick has said he will bring in some mid-level free agents.

  6. guinsfan4life says:

    Here is that article. I got it off

    One member of an NHL team’s front office said this week that two sources have told him Kovalev wishes to return to Pittsburgh. It sounds outlandish now, but three factors make it plausible: 1. His best hockey has come with the Penguins. 2. Because the Penguins have the lowest payroll, they would be one of the teams with the most room to spend under a cap-and-revenue-sharing system in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. 3. Patrick made clear early in the week that he plans to improve the team quickly with more expensive veterans if the new system allows.

  7. matteo says:

    Good move by Sather. Kovy wasn’t doing anything in NY and needed to go. Kovalev, while a very talented player, is a bit overrated. As someone above said – it isn’t too hard to put up points playing with Super Mario. Hell Mario even made Kevin “Coke Head” Stevens look good for a few years. It will be interesting to see how he meshes with the Habs.

    On the flip side. The Habs made a good deal– But only if 2 things happen now.

    1. They re-sign Kovalev after this season. If they don’t then this becomes a total waste for them. Because……

    2. They need more size to compete for the cup. They are still a small team. I can’t see them grinding out a series against Boston, Philly, or Toronto.

    They need to keep working to address a few other glaring holes in their lineup. It also doesn’t help that Souray is injured – but he will be back.

    Kovalev is the kind of playoff rental that you make when he is the last piece of the puzzle – not when he is just one of the pieces — unless you are prepared to get the others.

    I am a Flyers fan so I know all about overpaying for a playoff rental —cough cough Adam Oates. If they lock up Kovy for a couple years and address some of the other holes then this is a great deal. If they think that this is what will put them over the hump then they just overpayed and are only fooling themselves.

    Great first move as long as there are 1 or 2 more moves to come.

  8. titans says:

    Too bad Kovalev SUCKS!!!! I mean comeon 13 goals from his un-motivated ass is pathetic! I think this was a bad move for the Habs! I commend them for making a move, they rarely do. But there had to be a better player available than Kovalev. I hope I’m proven wrong, but Kovalev isn’t the player he once was. Playing on a new team could revitalize him…but I don’t think it will. Habs gave up alot…not sure it was worth it.

  9. bubbakazoo says:

    It don’t make no never mind if they’re side by each.

  10. HabsNick says:

    Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

    Let’s be serious about this, Balej is a good NHL-ready prospect *BUT* he’s Yet-Another-Small-Forward of which we have plenty. With Ryder’s brilliance, he became expendable so i don’t mind to see him go.

    The second round pick might be a lot to give additioned with Balej for a rental, but the draft this year isn’t quite as deep as last year so it might still have been a good move for them.

    I fully expect Gainey to offer a one year or two contract to Kovalev if he fits in well in MTL (which he should, he’ll be playing with either two playmaking centers and he should love that). He might not jump on the first offer that’s put before him but in that case, i expect Gainey will tell him to look around if he wants but that the offer is still there if he wants back in.

    So he’s not a power forward, but when was a power forward required to win a Stanley Cup? Nothing’s acquired yet but the Habs definitely just increased their bid for postseason glory.

    In any case, that move just wrote the asking price in stone for stars on selling teams: an NHL-ready prospect plus a draft pick. Leaf fans should be happy now that they could get either Leetch or Gonchar for Colaicovo+pick. (or probably Ponikarovsky+pick if they deal for Leetch)

  11. Chenard says:

    As a Habs fan, I can somewhat agree with you. Who knows. In 10 years this trade could look real bad as Balej shows he IS ready for the NHL and the Rangers use him to build their team around, along with the surprisingly tallented 2nd round pick(whoever that may be). I’m keeping my hopes up, but I’ve seen trades like this before in Montreal. John LeClair who!?



  12. kovalev says:

    yeah ok, you are just jealous the Leafs never got Kovalev

  13. Lint07 says:

    Kovalev Reacts to Trade to Canadiens

    3/2/2004 (

    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.

  14. Lint07 says:

    excellent comment.

  15. bleedingblu says:

    YES! thank you!

    Don’t get me wrong I think it was a good trade for both teams but the habs lack grit. This team better hope that Gainey isn’t done trading.

    It takes more than offensive talent to beat teams like the Devils, Philly, or Toronto.

    It’s a step in the right direction though!

    Good Luck Habs!

  16. Beckfan5 says:

    Two questions.

    1. Is this guy they got small and quick like a St.Louis or does he have some size?

    2.Whos next?

  17. Byzz33 says:

    For now, I’ve seen 3,618 stupid racist comments about the Quebecers on this site, against 0 about English Canadians. That one would be #3,619. Keep it on!

  18. bleedingblu says:

    I agree this was a good trade but it’s not the answer to their playoff success.

    Gainey has to keep going! He has to look for some gritty boys now. This team is still too small.

    Balej is apparently their farm club’s leading scorer…. hmmm …oh well .. I admire the fact that Gainey is taking this year’s run seriously!

    It’s a step in the right direction but I wouldn’t consider them dangerous. If Kovalev had a bad year on an all-star team like NY Rangers, what makes you so sure he’ll play like the old Kovalev in Montreal? If he doesn’t improve their game, what will Gainey do when he becomes a free agent?

    It’s a risk but …hey … again.. way to put your balls on the table Bob!

  19. Lint07 says:

    Josef Balej is 6’1” 185 and is EXTREMELY talented.

    Very imaginative with the puck, makes me think of a younger Kovalev…

    the next Ranger to go I think will be either Barnaby or Rucinsky. Sather will probably wait til deadline day to deal Leetch and get more for him.

    Next arrival in Montreal? Bet on a d-men.

  20. tmeyers says:

    Being a Habs fan…I like this trade. Ive followed Balej ever since he was drafted and frankly i didnt like him then. I disagree about his analysis as a player. He’s (kind of) fast but thats it. Almost Rico Fata’ish but not nearly as tough. He’s a big guy (6’1″) yes, but plays small and a weak shot.

    This has potential to be a steal for the Habs.

    And nobody can say that they are not on the edge of their seat when Kovie has the puck in the offensive zone.

    Its tough to read where Kovie will be put since Julien likes to play his guys as a team rather then lines. But he will likely play with Koivu.

  21. Bishop7979 says:

    Kovalevs best years came when he was playing with Lang and Straka, not Mario

  22. Viller says:

    They’ll have to give him at least 5million$ a year for 3-4 years if they expect to keep him. Lots of teams would pay that for him, even with the CBA.

    But as you mentionned, lots of dead skin will be free agents this summer for the habs… so they will be able to get him back IMO…

    Lots of young players will learn from him…

    A line of Kovalev-Koivu-Zednik would be more than good… That would asure that Ribeiro gets his Dagenais on his line from now on. So Koivu and Ribeiro should be “happy” again…

  23. Aetherial says:

    Titans, what did you think of Susan Sarandon almost spilling out of her dress at the academy awards.

    She isn’t bad for an older babe huh? Nice puppies 🙂

  24. Beckfan5 says:

    For some reason it seems there isint much of a market for Leetch. But now that there are reports that Gonchar got traded maybe his stock will go up. Maybe Toronto or Philly or Colorado might over pay for him.

    If this guy is a crafty winger I hope to see him out there w/ Lundmark at center and Ortmeyer as the brusing other winger. I think it would be a good young line, very energetic.

  25. Beckfan5 says:

    Oh and, I dont want to see Barnaby go. Hes their best agitator. Whos going to agitate if he goes?

    Whats the market for Nedved, Ruchinsky, Mirinov and Malakohv?And will any of these guys get moved?

  26. Adam_0486 says:

    This is great news for the Montreal Canadiens. Now they have at least some offensive punch. The question now is what is JFJ going to do now that all the other contending teams in the Eastern Conference have boosted up their rosters? (e.g Philly- Zhamnov, Burke, Markov, Boston- Conchar, Montreal- Kovalev, Ottawa- Bondra, Devils-Kozlov, Tampa-Sydor)

  27. Beckfan5 says:

    You could still draft a good player w/ a sound round pick, doesnt have to be a star.

    Heck, Kim Jonnson was drafted dead last the year he was picked.

  28. B-man says:

    It was just a matter of time before Glen “Savior” pulled the trigger on this one. Kovalev has been awful for the rangers. Actually, he’s been terrible. It’s obvious that this guy cannot play in a big media drawn city. That is exactly where he is going, in Montreal. I have no clue how he will do. True, Kovalev is a very talented offensive player, but his defense is pitiful. If you watch, he never back checks, and he is the reason to why so many odd man rushes are formed for the opposing team. I don’t know if Kovalev will fit into the Canadiens system, but time will tell.

  29. Jack_Laviolette says:


    Trade Ribeiro? No offense, but that would be very dumb: he’s the top point-getter in the team in his first complete season. True, he seems a bit *****y, but that’s just fine. Koivu was the one with the attitude problem earlier this year, he got a fair warning from the crowd, and now he’s playing team-wise and the habs are on fire! What more do you want? -> a big DD.

    They want to go deep in the off-season to make more money than they spend. Kovalev is a good move if only for that reason. Gainey expects a work stoppage and did the right thing. I’m pretty sure he isn’t done yet. Funny how he sent the media on wrong trails to make this sneaky move. Nobody expected it (but bamboo? lol). And I’m sure Gainey got some insurance from Kovalev to resign him, he’s just too bright.

    He gave up a great prospect, but he was expandable. Look at what we have left:

    LW: Plekanec! / Hossa / Carpentier

    RW: Perezhogin! / Milroy / Ferland / Thinel

    C: Gratton / Higgins! / Larrivée

    Not to mention our overloaded D.

    No way we can use all of them.

  30. Jack_Laviolette says:

    I might be over-optimistic, but I have great confidence in Kovalev’s stay with the habs.

    1) I don’t think that the media was hurting him in NY. Gainey obviously interviewed him and sorted this out. He had success with a very young Pens teams, and that’s what the habs are. I’m sure he will appreciate the attention he’ll get from the young ones. How can you be a leader with divas all around like Yagr and Lindros?

    2) He’s got a shot at the playoffs: I’m sure that will motivate him to play his best game. He might be a defensive liability, but being on the habs’ first line, it won’t matter much. In the habs’ system, the center has the responsibility to make the defensive moves. Our D is shining right now (top 5 on goals against) and call me old-style, but sometimes the best offense is… offense. We have plenty of two-way forwards and we don’t need any more. We now have two very fast top lines and that makes us dangerous, and hard to hit. D-men will be drawn to him when he controls the puck; that means a lot of space for Koivu and Ribeiro and their passing magic. I disagree about the “not big enough” argument. Size is a must for slow teams, but it’s not the only way to win games (look at the sens). Souray gets back soon and Gainey might be looking for a physical D-man to complement him. That should be enough.

    3) He’s at the end of his contract. He had an off-year. It’s the perfect occasion for him to show what he’s worth: new, younger team; playoff run; a chance to up his next contract. Nice setup to get his groove back.

    What do you think?

    P.S.: What about this scary line?


    It should scare the hell out of Grier, Laraque, Worrel and Carter ; )

  31. Jack_Laviolette says:

    ***** = c o c k y

  32. Jack_Laviolette says:

    Right, with 24 crappy Cups…

  33. GeniushockeyKID says:

    “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.”

    oh yeah i forgot, he was too busy not playing defense and missing the net. i guess he was just doing too much of nothing.

  34. HabsNick says:

    I like 1, 2 and 3. But i HAVE to say something about your P.S.

    It *would* be scary for 3 games in an entire season. You know those 3 games where Kilger is on fire then sucks for the rest of the season? That would be it.

    Poor Chad, he’s doomed to be a career 13th forward.

  35. GeniushockeyKID says:


  36. GeniushockeyKID says:

    im sorry to inform you that pretty soon you’ll dread seeing kovalev in a habs jersey, hes cancer.

  37. wingerxx says:

    Montreal tends to get some use out of their enigmatic Russian stars…although the end Vlad Malakhov’s tenure in Montreal wasn’t pretty…

    Once again, the spotlight is going to be on Kovalev in Montreal, and he will have to prove, again, that he can handle it. History is not on his side. He played with talented players in New York, and couldn’t get it done. If I were the Canadiens coach, I would slap him on a line with Koivu and Sundstrom. He’s turned into a severe defensive liablility now. But…if he can manage to pull it together again, he’ll be world beater. He’s going to have to prove it though. It’s too early to say whether this trade was good for Montreal or not, because if he plays like he did in New York…things are going to be very ugly in Quebec.

  38. GeniushockeyKID says:

    laugh it up. you got screwed and you know it!

  39. Jack_Laviolette says:

    I agree he sucks big time, but he’s the only way we can have a KKK line right now. Maybe we could swith Komi to offense? : )

  40. Jack_Laviolette says:


    You know, the last guy to wear a mullet?

  41. NYRules says:

    wow… maybe thats why the rangers decided to rent kovalev to them

  42. afanofthelakings says:

    He’ll probably get Leetch, Kolzig, O’Neill and Tkachuk

  43. OldNord says:

    I hope not, may happens, though. They won’t dress him tonight, that sucks.

  44. wheresthesoda says:

    who will start playing with the rangers?

    is Balej gonna start right with the rangers now, or is he gonna do great in the minors this year and horrible with the rangers next year?

  45. wheresthesoda says:

    kovalev forgot how to shoot this year..good luck with him. tell me if he just try’s to control the game with his stickhandling.

  46. nelsog says:

    Kovalev’s big seasons did not come with Mario if you remember.

    I would have liked Barnaby in there too. NYR won’t part with him if they are smart. And it probably would have cost even more young talent.

    It seems Kovalev is ready and relaxed about being sent to Montreal. Good thing. He tried doing way to much in NY. A human can’t beat 3 guys everytime like Kovalev always tried in NY. Hopefully he’s calm and works the puck around like he should.

    Look for Kovalev to run the point on PP in Souray’s absence. He has a howitzer when he doesn’t try taking through the middle trying to deke the entire opposing team.

    Kovalev = Eastern Conference Finals?

    By the way this help the NYR too and the Habs have a chance a resigning Kovalev because he learned his lessopn in NY this year and is looking to add experience to a young team.

  47. kovalev says:

    maybe un New York he was, but then almost every player that goes to the Rangers get there career ruined

  48. kovalev says:

    Kovalev didn’t put up those points with Mario

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