Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Musings - Kovalev Edition (updated 10:35pm, with video)

(Update 10:35pm) A few more thoughts on Kovey.
- insane sniper on the powerplay
- in fact, he can run the entire powerplay from the low slot, the same spot that Heatley stands with his stick in the air. Instead of just having the one timer, we can get the puck to Kovalev right away and let him set up from there for a one-timer, holding on for a wrist shot, looking across the crease back to Spezza, or draw in a forward to open up a point shot. He's dynamic on the pp.
- he's experienced in media markets. In fact, Ottawa will be a walk in the park for media compared to what he took on in Montreal. What does he have to worry about here, Don Brennan? He might be able to chase Happy Feet Corvo out of town, but Kovalev has tougher skin than that.
- it takes some pressure off Murray to get the absolute best trade for Heatley. Instead of having to get two top six forwards, he can take back more prospects and cap space and we'll still have a legitimate top six forward.
- it is a short contract so we're not locked into this enigma for life.
- it sticks the finger to Montreal.

- it is a lot of money. $5M for a guy that could get 80pts? Great. $5M for a guy that might get 55-60pts is not so cool. It isn't like he has Mike Fisher banging ability.
- will this guy forecheck and go in the corners?
- how will he fit into Clouston's pressure system? There is no flashes of speed out of him anymore, he is more about positioning. Clouston wants guys in the right position for a two-man forecheck and pressure, but Kovey isn't exactly going to race to his spot. Have you ever watched Shaq saunter back to defence after scoring?
- he was BENCHED last year and comes back to a $10M contract.
- his consistency on a nightly basis is as questionable as anyone in hockey. For a team that desperately needs to see their players working their asses off, he won't give us that very often.

So it can go both ways. On one hand, he's a guy that potted 35 goals for 84 pts just two years ago. On the other hand, he dropped just 18 goals for 47 points the year before that, and was minus-19. So what the hell did we just sign? An 84 point winger, or a 47 point winger. Fans seem very mixed on this one. That's a big contract on which to have mixed feelings, isn't it? As it stands today, I'm disappointed with this. It depends on what other options were out there. Would it be better to sign Bert and Comrie for $2.5M each? Gives us depth, but neither of those guys are top liners. Kovalev can be a top line player, the last one out there. Arrgghhh, this one will keep me up at night.

As for Heatley - the writing is on the wall. I know Murray said one had nothing to do with the other, but that's gotta be a stone-faced lie. We're over the cap and Kovalev is Heatley's replacement, plain as day. It has to be a matter of days right now. My money is still on Edmonton and hopefully we can toss in the Gator and let him retire as an Oiler, as he should. Cogs, Penner, Smid, and Kovalev is an easier pill to swallow. If Heatley is getting any kind of sane advice at this point, he'd have realized that Murray will leave him with a decision of Ottawa or Edmonton.

Also, this must mean the end of Mike Comrie again. I'm disappointed as I thought he'd be a solid second liner at $2M. It isn't a certainty that we can't fit him into the cap, but this one seems pretty clear at this point that Pinball is on the move again.

(Updated 6:50pm) So I've now had a couple of hours to digest this signing and what it means for the Sens and my unchanged. I don't necessarily have a problem with dropping $5M on a top six forward. I also don't have a problem pooling Kovalev in a list of top six forwards - he is definitely a top player. What I do have a problem with is trying to figure out how in the hell this castoff is going to fit into a system like that of Coach Clouston. Before signing him, Murray and team must have discussed the contradiction in Clouston's style and Kovalev's style, no? So did Kovalev's agent say that he's ready to get his shat together? Otherwise, what can we expect of this guy over 82 games? This guy was freaking BENCHED a few months ago.

So if he plays with Spezza, we still don't have much of a forecheck. We'll have the same lazy winger, just one that puts up 25-30 goals instead of 40-45 goals. If he plays on a second line with Fisher - really? Oil and water.

Kovalev is dynamic on the powerplay. The guy seriously torched us over the past few years in the low slot and gives us an entirely new dynamic. Instead of just setting up with a one-timer, he can actually handle the puck incredibly well and shoot AND setup. That is something I love about him being a Senator. I just don't know if that guy will show up or if the indifferent Kovy will show up.

Other Monday Musings:
- This has to mean that the Heatley deal is in the final stages. My gut tells me that there has to be an offer on the table and maybe they're notifying the players. That obviously is a made up thought, but seriously, this deal must be about done and we must be ditching salary, otherwise we're over the cap.

- Chris Neil had some choice words for Heatley today at the Spezza tourney. I love it! In a nutshell, he said 'I want to be a Senator. If he doesn't want to be a Senator, then go ahead and leave'. Nice stuff. We paid him $2M to say that, by the way.

- Should we make a pitch for Versteeg or Barker? Based on reports that the NHLPA will file a grievance on the Hawks botching their RFA QO's, these two guys might be out on the UFA market. Luckily for us, we just put ourselves over the salary cap. Whoops.

From earlier...
We've signed one of the most indifferent players in hockey and he's going to make a lot of money. I guess this means that we're expecting the Heatley trade to go through and we need this guy's help on the PP.

I'm going to gather up my thoughts and post later tonight. My initial reaction is one of disgust and discomfort, but maybe I'll come around to this. On his game, he's one of the best out there. But how often is he on his game? We left him off our UFA list because I flat out don't like him.

We have to assume the Heatley deal is done, right?

Also, I missed it on the Team 1200, but apparently Chris Neil had some very choice words at the Spezza Golf Tournament about his disappointment with Heatley. He was serene about it before he re-signed but now with a contract in hand, I guess he's down with kicking him out of town. I'll try and find some formal quotes of what he actually said, but I'm hearing it was the most aggressive comments yet from the players.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with you. I think this is a great signing.

I hated watching him with the puck against the Sens.


Anonymous said...

This is an absolute terrible signing...

For all of those that think Spezza and Heatley are one dimensional floaters, well here's another...Isnt this the exact type of lazy disinterested player and attitude we've been trying to change from in Ottawa for years now? Do you seriously think this guy will buy into Cory Cloustons new uptempo hard work system??? And at a reported 5 million for two years it is at least one year one million too much...Bryan Murray is hanging by a thread and grasping at straws

Canucnik said...


I'm with you...I shall pay to watch this man play hockey for us...great term...correct money

Duff, what are you thinking? If the move does not match your master plan exactly, you are not a happy camper...if Bryan has the balls to hold Dany a while longer you may yet get your prospect...maybe even a pick!

This is a day like draft day...mild optimism.

pynch said...

I find myself with a cold, hard fence between my legs on this one. There's no doubt that Kovy will not show up for 82 games, however, the 60 he does show up for will likely vault is into the playoffs and a top 5 PP in the league. He's a better solution than Penner, so now we just need a solid second liner + draft pick for Heatley. Am I out to lunch here?

I do know two things for sure...

1. Our success lies on the back of Pascale Leclair...he'll be the biggest difference maker this season.
2. That's the best pic of Kovalev I've ever seen.

Lester M. said...

What is that red, white, and blue uniform Kovalev is wearing? Is that at the root of your misgivings? Just can't stand a former Habitant putting on a Sens uniform? Re-read Roch Carriere's "The Hockey Sweater" - at least we didn't get an old Leaves guy. By the way - I'm betting you are the owner of a Heatley jersey? What are you planning on doing with it? How about a blog on that subject for all us poor saps who own one?
I agree with Pynch; that is a great picture of Kovalev. But has he had skating lessons?

carl j said...

Nice job Murray. Replace a 50-goal man in his prime with a bone-lazy eauro witha penchant for dissapearing when it matters most.

pg said...

This is a good (not great) signing IMO. It's only two years, he'll be trade bait when we're on the outside looking in, and it signals the very definite end of heatley.

While I am not suggesting he is a better player than heatley by any stretch, there is no doubt that he is nowhere near as one dimensional. He can skate, shoot, dangle, dish, and as noted is amazing on the PP. Heatley sits in the slot with his stick raised waiting for a pass. THAT is one dimensional. Kovalev is more of strictly offense, not one-dimensional.

I for one am happy that BM has done something finally. And for all those knocking Kovalev for disappearing in the playoffs, check his stats and heaters over the last 2 playoff series they have played.

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