Alexei Kovalev will be playing in Sunday's NHL All-Star Game in Miami. Mario Lemieux won't suit up, but will join the broadcast crew during the game Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm on ABC television.
Check out how Penguins players have fared over the years at the league's annual mid-season exhibition here.
And make sure to catch the Topps/NHL YoungStars Game and Dodge/NHL SuperSkills Competition tonight at 7:00pm on ESPN.
Alexei Kovalev refuses to deal in speculation, which was a good thing Saturday.
During the morning's media availability, the talented Pittsburgh Penguins forward was in much demand as wave after wave of reporters surrounded his podium. Although Kovalev is a good interview, few were interested in his general affability.
Specifically, the rumors about his impending trade from the Penguins was the topic of the day.
"Do you think you will be traded?" asked one. "What team do you think you will land with, Alexei?" asked another. "How do you deal with the constant uncertainty that all the rumors generate?" asked a third.
Instead of bristling at the questions, Kovalev took each inquiry in stride, answering thoughtfully and intelligently.
"I went through all the trade rumors for four years when I was in New York," said Kovalev, who played the first six years of his career with the New York Rangers before being traded to Pittsburgh in 1998. "You have no control over it. As long as it doesn't bother my teammates, it's OK with me."
There has been much speculation that the Penguins could trade the 29-year-old Russian forward before the season is over because Kovalev will be eligible for arbitration at the end of the season.
Even Kovalev acknowledges that there is the possibility he could be moved.
"My feeling is that for the next month, I don't think anything's going to happen," said Kovalev, who has 23 goals and 35 assists to rank fifth on the NHL's scoring list. "Maybe closer to the deadline, it might happen."
Until then, Kovalev will just go along patiently answering the questions thrown his way. After years of struggling to hold court with the media due to his slow progress in learning the English language, Kovalev now enjoys the give and take with reporters. He almost sees it as a game these days.
"You keep the media busy," he relates. "They ask the same questions and you give the same answers. They have a job to do and we help them out and they help us out."