Habs forward Kovalev says hockey DVD to help kids with heart trouble

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MONTREAL - Alex Kovalev said making a hockey DVD for charity was prompted by his own heart troubles as a child in Russia.

The Montreal Canadiens star forward released a two-DVD set on Monday called "Alex Kovalev - My Hockey Tips And Training Methods." All proceeds will go toward helping kids around the world with cardiac problems.

"I always wanted to have my own project instead of being part of something else," said Kovalev. "You want to have control so you can focus on this problem and be part of it."

The first DVD deals with fitness and ways to improve one's game. The second DVD deals with his charities and also has a trailer for a documentary film on his life called "Mr. Kovi," which was made in Russia last year.

Kovalev said he developed heart problems when he was eight in Togliatti, Russia, that needed two years of treatment. He was advised by a doctor to quit hockey.

"It was shock," he said of his reaction. "He said you can't train more than once a week. I didn't know what to do."

He decided to keep playing anyway because "I loved playing hockey."

Kovalev kept it secret from his mother for seven months "but somehow she found out and she was very mad."

"I told her I'm going to keep playing. I can't stop. She said just be careful."

Kovalev has been off medication since he was 12 and has had no further problems.

The 35-year-old has come back from a weak 2006-07 campaign of only 18 goals and 47 points to lead the Canadiens with 31 goals and 74 points this season. He credits extra attention to his fitness and renewed commitment to playing his best hockey.

The DVD proceeds will help fund projects headed by Montreal pediatric heart surgeon Suzanne Vopecky to bring top-notch cardiology to children around the world. The DVD is available in English and French in some stores and at imavision.com.

It was shot over three days in Montreal last summer in high definition.