Alexei Kovalev Back in Pittsburgh for Second Tour

Updated: February 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm by Alexander Monaghan

The Ottawa Senators continue to sell, taking essentially any asset in return for any player not part of their future. Of course, Alexei Kovalev falls directly into this category as the 38-year-old nears free agency playing on a non-contender.

Today, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero brought Kovalev back for a small price. However, unlike the old days, Kovy will not be the center of attention or the big money player. All he essentially needs to do is fit in on a team that injuries simply could not decimate.

Over the past two months one Penguin after another fell to injury from captain Sidney Crosby to superstar Evgeni Malkin to a plethora of secondary scorers like Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi, Chris Kunitz, Mark Letestu and even Arron Asham. For the most part the defense has stayed in tact with Paul Martin only missing a few games and now Brooks Orpik hurt for the next 4-6 weeks. However, the hard work of this makeshift team coupled with the excellent play of Marc-Andre Fleury has stood out, keeping the team in the top four of the Eastern Conference by a healthy margin.

With the Pens now strengthening themselves for the stretch drive they acquire a player who definitely holds the skill to fill in on the top line while more than capable of handling a second-line role.

Hopefully Kovalev sheds his selfish or disappearing label as he did in Pittsburgh and for essentially one year with the Montreal Canadiens. If he can show his willingness to be a team player he should be just fine in the hard-working system of head coach Dan Blysma. Kovalev brings a former Stanley Cup winner to a team trying to make the finals for the third time in four years and carries a legacy of playing with some of the great Penguins like Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

In summary… (line changes)

Penguins: The demotion of Tim Wallace clears a roster spot for Kovalev, who likely pushes Tyler Kennedy and Chris Conner down a line.
Senators: New waiver wire acquisition Marek Svatos fills the hole for the rest of the year.

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