Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Andrei Kovalenko
Many Russian players came from poor families. Their less than promising prospects encouraged many of those boys to make something of themselves in the world of sports. Kovalenko is an exception. He was born in the small town of Balakovo on the Volga River, and his family, by Russian standards, was fairly well to do.

Kovalenko has never forgotten his roots. He was grateful for the opportunity to play for his national team in the 1991 Canada Cup, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympics. After a dismal season in Canada he scored only six goals in the regular season, Kovalenko's performance in Nagano, Japan, was excellent. In six games, he scored four goals. He dreams of being invited to play for Russia in the Olympics at Salt Lake City in 2002.

During his first three years in the NHL, Kovalenko's output was moderate. Then his team moved from Quebec City to Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Avalanche were headed for the Stanley Cup and wanted to get their hands on Montreal's Patrick Roy, who was in a dispute with Canadiens coach Mario Tremblay at the time. In order to get Roy, the Avalanche decided to sacrifice their young forwards Kovalenko and Martin Rucinsky. Kovalenko's nine goals in the previous 10 games with Colorado didn't encourage his team to keep him.

Kovalenko stayed with Montreal for less than a season. His performance was good during the regular season but fell short in the playoffs. That was all the excuse the club's administration needed to trade him to Edmonton. In the regular season he scored 32 goals, but after a year with the Oilers, Kovalenko finally came through in the playoffs, scoring four important goals in the series. However, the next year he scored only half a dozen goals and he appeared on the ice only in one playoff game. Kovalenko asked general manager Glen Sather to trade him. Six months later, at the start of the 1998-99 season, his wish was granted.

His term with Philadelphia lasted less than two months. He saw little ice time and in 13 games he earned only one point. Kovalenko thought the Flyers only wanted him so they could get rid of the costly Alexandre Daigle, who wasn't on good terms with Bobby Clarke. Still, Philadelphia was actively seeking an experienced defenseman, and once they set their sights on Adam Burt of Carolina, Kovalenko was swapped. Philly coach Roger Neilson told him, "Don't blame it on yourself, you were just missing your chance."

Since March of 1999, the Russian Tank has been playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, who take advantage of his ability as a shooter. Coach Paul Morris and veteran players Ron Francis and Gary Roberts are firm in their opinion that Kovalenko has become an integral part of the team.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1987-88 Torpedo Gorky USSR-Q 2 1 0 1 0
1988-89 SKA MVO Kalinin USSR-2 30 8 7 15 29
1988-89 CSKA Moscow USSR 10 1 0 1 0
1989-90 CSKA Moscow USSR 48 8 5 13 20
1989-90 CSKA Moscow Fr-Tour 1 0 0 0 4
1989-90 Soviet Union WJC-A 7 5 6 11 8
1990-91 CSKA Moscow USSR 45 13 8 21 26
1990-91 CSKA Moscow Fr-Tour 1 1 0 1 2
1990-91 CSKA Moscow Super-S 7 6 3 9 2
1991-92 Soviet Union Can-Cup 5 1 2 3 10
1991-92 CSKA Moscow CIS 44 19 13 32 32
1991-92 CSKA Moscow 2 CIS-3 1 1 1 2 0
1991-92 Russia Olympics 8 1 1 2 2
1991-92 Russia WC-A 6 3 1 4 2
1992-93 CSKA Moscow CIS 3 3 1 4 4
1992-93 Quebec Nordiques NHL 81 27 41 68 57 +13 4 1 0 1 2
1993-94 Quebec Nordiques NHL 58 16 17 33 46 -5
1993-94 Russia WC-A 6 3 5 8 2
1994-95 Lada Togliatti CIS 11 9 2 11 14
1994-95 Quebec Nordiques NHL 45 14 10 24 31 -4 6 0 1 1 2
1995-96 Colorado Avalanche NHL 26 11 11 22 16 +11
1995-96 Montreal Canadiens NHL 51 17 17 34 33 +9 6 0 0 0 6
1996-97 Russia W-Cup 5 2 0 2 4
1996-97 Edmonton Oilers NHL 74 32 27 59 81 -5 12 4 3 7 6
1997-98 Edmonton Oilers NHL 59 6 17 23 28 -14 1 0 0 0 2
1997-98 Russia Olympics 6 4 1 5 14
1998-99 Edmonton Oilers NHL 43 13 14 27 30 -4
1998-99 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 13 0 1 1 2 -5
1998-99 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 18 6 6 12 0 +3 4 0 2 2 2
1999-00 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 76 15 24 39 38 -13
1999-00 Russia WC-A 6 0 0 0 0 -2
2000-01 Boston Bruins NHL 76 16 21 37 27 -14
2001-02 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Russia 51 27 20 47 62 9 4 3 7 28
2001-02 Russia WC-A 8 0 4 4 4 +1
2002-03 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Russia 51 14 16 30 62 10 5 4 9 12
2003-04 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Russia 59 23 11 34 56 3 0 0 0 0
2004-05 Russia W-Cup 2 0 0 0 6
2004-05 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Russia 4 0 1 1 2
2004-05 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Russia-3 7 3 3 6 6
2004-05 Avangard Omsk Russia 33 8 9 17 65 11 0 4 4 10
2005-06 Avangard Omsk Russia 12 1 3 4 8
2005-06 Severstal Cherepovets Russia 26 10 7 17 20 4 0 2 2 4
2006-07 Severstal Cherepovets Russia 50 21 8 29 30 5 1 0 1 0
2007-08 Severstal Cherepovets Russia 48 9 8 17 36 7 0 1 1 2
NHL Totals 620 173 206 379 389 33 5 6 11 20


Transferred to Colorado after Quebec franchise relocated, June 21, 1995. Traded to Montreal by Colorado with Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault for Patrick Roy and Mike Keane, December 6, 1995. Traded to Edmonton by Montreal for Scott Thornton, September 6, 1996. Traded to Philadelphia by Edmonton for Alexandre Daigle, January 29, 1999. Traded to Carolina by Philadelphia for Adam Burt, March 6, 1999. Signed as a free agent by Boston, July 25, 2000.
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