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“Du chien en ta******”: an unpublished photo of Martin Necas, a student of Alex Kovalev who interests CH

“Du chien en ta******”: an unpublished photo of Martin Necas, a student of Alex Kovalev who interests CH

Persistent rumors link Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas to the Montreal Canadiens. A relatively young player who has not yet unleashed his full potential as was the case with Kirby Dach or Alex Newhook, the Czech has a profile worthy of arousing the curiosity of Kent Hughes.

“There is a lot of its potential that has not yet been tapped. What you see is not its peak. He can offer more,” confirmed a person named Alex Kovalev by phone, who agreed to contribute to the development of Necas remotely, via sessions on Zoom or FaceTime.

But who is Nikas, this young man whom Kovalev took under his wing? Does her well-known desire to leave Carolina hide a side of talent that should worry her? TVASports.ca tried to answer these burning questions.

“He was 16 when I arrived in Brno [en République tchèque]Remembers Quebec striker Alexandre Mallet. He was 130-140 lbs all over. In the playoffs he was the youngest in the league and was the first to reach the corners.

“You're playing against guys, you're 35 years old. He arrives, the puck is in the corner and bam! It's going to get smashed and it's going to come back. You're saying to yourself: ‘C****! The guy had the same dog in the tab ***** !

A player talks a lot about his former teammate. No surprises here, you might say. However, Mallett does not say the same about Filip Zadina, who played with him at Pardubice before meeting Necas.

“I saw some young people who knew they had potential,” says the former Rimouski Oceanic striker. Little Zadina was: “Me, me, me…” Little Nikas did his own thing, respected everyone. It's a good thing Jack. I know I've been by his side for six years, but I'd be really surprised if he changed.

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“Zadina, if he doesn't have his numerical advantage, it's going to be bad. Same stuff, at 16! I knew my little Necas had so much more potential…”

But Nikas benefited from better supervision.

“Martin Erat was there too,” Mallett says. He was his mentor. He was quite the leader. I've seen former NHL players look down on you. not him. He took Nikas under his wing and showed him how to run the power play.

Kovalev rebuilt his game

Necas had a bright future for a long time. After all, he was selected outside the top 10 (12th overall) by the Hurricanes in the 2017 draft, however, it took some time for his incredible offensive talent to show itself in the most tangible ways, specifically in goals and assists. It was only in the previous season, 2022-23, that Necas began to establish himself as an impact forward with 71 points.

This also coincides with the beginning of cooperation between Kovalev and the young man.

“There are a lot of things we had to change,” explains the man we called “The Artist” in an interview with TVASports.ca. Changes had to be made in every aspect of his game, and his biggest sin was staying away from dangerous areas. We have adjusted his approach and movement so that he is more often at the heart of the action in the attacking zone.

The work is not over yet, confirms Kovalev, who is undoubtedly a very demanding coach, because he thinks highly of his student's best interests.

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The former Hab No. 27 man insists he “must learn to be unpredictable.” We've been working on this a lot over the past two years. He cannot play in a straight line. He needs to change his ways a little. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration: how the puck is handled, who you pass the ball to, how to read opposing players in tight spaces… It's complicated to explain, because a lot of variables come into play.

To implement Kovalev's teachings, Nikas will need some freedom on the ice.

“He has to be in an environment where the coaches trust,” Kovalev said. Some coaches want their team to play a certain style and accomplish certain things on the ice. My vision is this: when you see a very talented player, you give him the opportunity to exploit that talent and do not restrict him.

Martin Necas begins hostilities –

Kovalev never explicitly states anything like this, but let's assume that the environment he describes closely matches that built by Martin St. Louis in Montreal.

“Nikas is a hard worker,” Kovalev adds. He always works hard on his game, he has put in a lot of effort to become a better player. You feel this desire to get better at it.”

It remains to be seen what comes next for his student. Although he has expressed interest in being traded, Necas is not getting much stick given his status as a restricted free agent. Has Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon forgiven the Canadiens for the hostile offer made to Sebastian Aho now that a new regime is in place in Montreal? The businessman should be more involved in his team's hockey operations than he was now that Don Waddell is gone…

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