Skip to content

Kovalchuk insists he’s not behind KHL coach’s firing

Nov 26, 2012, 9:39 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk AP

Ilya Kovalchuk told R Sport that he isn’t responsible for Sunday’s firing of his KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s head coach Milos Riha.

“All the rumors about some problems between me and Riha are nonsense,” Kovalchuk said. “We had a good personal relationship, and I want to wish good luck to him and [assistant coach Andrey] Potaychuk in wherever they will work next.”

It’s tough not to wonder what prompted the team to fire Riha, then.

The squad is currently on top of the KHL’s Western Conference with 61 points, tied for most in the league, so it’s hard to imagine the issue being about team performance.

Kovalchuk is also enjoying great personal success – he’s tied for fourth place in scoring with 29 points in 22 games – so the answer probably cannot be found in the standings or box scores.

If there indeed was a rift, Kovalchuk is certainly playing things closer to the vest than he did with short-lived New Jersey Devils bench boss John MacLean in 2010-11.

Latest Posts
  1. No buyout: Flyers will keep Gagner

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Arizona Coyotes v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Former first-round pick is relieved after a “stressful” last few days.

  2. Habs re-sign deadline pickup Flynn: two years, $1.9 million

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

    Former Buffalo forward had three points in six playoff games for Montreal.

  3. Florida waives Boyes for buyout purposes

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    33-year-old had 14 goals and 38 points last year.

  4. Hurricanes to buy out Semin

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    Six goals in 57 games last season.

  5. What character concerns? Treliving has ‘slept like a baby’ since Hamilton trade

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:57 AM EDT

    Dougie Hamilton Getty Images

    “This doesn’t keep me awake at night. Since the day we got Dougie Hamilton, I’ve had the best sleeps of the past few years. “

  6. ‘Hawks sign No. 3 goalie Leighton to one-year extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Michael Leighton, Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    With Antti Raanta gone, he’s now set as the backup’s backup.

  7. Report: Isles, Hickey closing in three-year pact around $6.5M

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT

    thomashickeygetty Getty Images

    26-year-old defenseman has missed just one game over the last two years.

  8. Lightning, Sustr agree on two-year extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:23 AM EDT

    Andrej Sustr Getty Images

    It’s reportedly worth $2.9 million.

  9. Lehtonen, Niemi see benefit in splitting goalie duties

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    Kari Lehtonen Getty Images

    They both finished in the top 10 in minutes in 2014-15.

  10. Caps’ Wey retires at 24 due to concussions

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:57 AM EDT

    Patrick Wey Getty Images

    He made his NHL debut during the 2013-14 campaign before his career was derailed.

  11. Where to next? Arcobello poised to test UFA market

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes

    He played with four different NHL teams last season.

  12. B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT

    Don Sweeney AP

    It’s not all about the Zac Rinaldo trade, although that certainly didn’t help.

  13. VandeVelde signs two-year extension with Flyers

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Chris VandeVelde Getty Images

    He establish himself with the team after years of work primarily in the AHL.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (2103)
  2. C. Talbot (2028)
  3. R. O'Reilly (1978)
  4. S. Gagner (1774)
  5. M. Richards (1698)
  1. R. Lehner (1643)
  2. E. Etem (1618)
  3. M. Lucic (1547)
  4. A. Niemi (1473)
  5. K. Letang (1402)