March 15, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA – Newly acquired Pittsburgh Penguin Alexi Kovalev has already come under fire from a fan in attendance at Sunday’s game in the Consol Energy Center. During the Penguins 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, Paul J. Lucas of Lower Burrell repeatedly shouted, “C’mon Kovalev! Shoot the dang puck!”
Kovalev, a 20-year league veteran, was noticeably distraught after hearing the comment. “I can understand his frustration,” the three-time NHL All-star said in a post-game interview. “I don’t know why I don’t shoot the puck more. It’s like, I can obviously score a goal at any point in the game. When the puck comes to me, I guess I just forget to shoot.”
Lucas describes himself as a “casual fan.” He attended the game because his one friend knows someone at American Eagle Outfitters in the marketing department and hooked him up.
“Someone’s got to tell these guys how to play,” Lucas added. “It might as well be me.”
Lucas has never played hockey at a professional or amateur level. The extent of his sports experience includes running some track in high school and golfing “a couple” times each year.
Coach Dan Bylsma was surprised at Lucas’ impressive insights into a game with such extremely complex systems. “That’s one thing that we really don’t focus on in practice,” said the second-year coach. “Shooting the puck and scoring goals is usually in the back of our minds. Mr. Lucas has a novel idea here and it just might work.”
Kovalev, a former Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic Bronze medalist, said that he will try harder to shoot the puck more often. “Even though I’ve been playing hockey at an unbelievably competitive level for my entire life, I still need that little reminder every now and again.”