Alex Kovalev wants to return to the Montreal Canadiens as soon as possible.
The 35-year-old winger refuses to get dragged into a storm of speculation that ranges from talk of an imminent trade to allegations he blames his teammates for the Canadiens on-ice struggles.
Reports on Wednesday alleged Kovalev said Montreal's younger players were allowing off-ice distractions to affect their play and the team's performance.
Kovalev flatly denies that claim. "It's not my words, but I can't tell you whose...I never talk about my teammates," Kovalev told TSN.
Told to stay away from the team for games against Washington and Pittsburgh, Kovalev said he has no idea how long Canadiens' GM Bob Gainey intends on keeping him on the sidelines and doesn't know if Gainey intends on trading him before the March 4 NHL trade deadline.
"I'm nobody, I don't control anything here," Kovalev said. "All I can promise is hopefully I can come back and play better and help my team...I have no choice," Kovalev said.
Kovalev is goalless in 10 straight games and has scored just 13 goals in 57 games.
When asked about his on-ice struggles with the Canadiens this season, Kovalev had difficulty explaining his slump. "Sometimes it's not easy," he said. "I don't know why. It's not that I didn't try. All I can do is turn this into a positive."