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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Kovalev: how worried should we be?

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Let's see...a knee surgery last season, followed by a wonky knee this season...related to an apparent loss of acceleration, such that he's no longer able to dipsy-doodle around half the opposition every shift...all of which results in by far the worst extended stretch of play since he first joined us. Sure, he's got a few points, but he's a shadow of the Kovalev of most of last season (ya know who he reminds me of lately? Denis Savard when he came to the Habs, already a has-been, but in denial). The knee thing really bothers me. Is it time to start fretting that our most talented player may be (permanently) damaged goods? If so, are we basically boned, given that we're on the hook for a weighty salary for two more seasons?

Thoughts?

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It may be true but Kovalev ALWAYS shows up in the playoffs. As long as we make the playoffs, I really don't mind if he coasts a little, doesn't take every hit in the corner because he'll be in that much better shape come the spring.

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I think this bobbing back and forth between center and wing, and not having a proper center when he does play wing (where he should be playing) has more to do with the lack of production than any physical ailments.

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only time will tell...we are roughly a month and a half in...i just hope its not serious...he asent been the razzle-dazzle Kovalev we all know

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Did you miss the few shifts against Ottawa where he went through 2 or 3 players in a matter of seconds. He can still dipsy doodle.

As for zumpano21 comments I agree Kovalev always shows up for the playoffs but if a surgery when HIggins comes back and 4-5 weeks off would make him even better for the playoffs it is worth it. It would be really terrible if his knee was weaker than it could be for playoffs and an innocent play knocked him out for an extended period of time late in the season/ in the playoffs.

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Probably why he flipped his lid when he got kneed and there was no call.

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As far as I know, he bruised his knee and water is accumulating now and then. After a surgery, this is something that is fairly common for athletes. If it's just that, he could probably work through it and continue playing, even with some discomfort. I'm not really worried at this point.

With Kovalev's history, I'm sure he will play big when it counts. He is easily our best player and key to any success we might have in the playoffs. He's a warrior.

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Kovy still can dipsy-doodle around like the best of them (as seen in Ottawa), but I think the transition to centre, and non-producing linemates has hurt him the most.

I predict he'll light it up tonight.

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Let him have some fun... let him play with Kostitsyn and Samsonov for a few weeks... I think Andrei is just the thing that he needed.

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Well, there's no doubt that Kovalev is not the Kovalev of old.

But wait a minute, there's the rub. You see, Kovalev never has been a consistent point per game producer. True, there were exceptional years, including a couple of seasons when he was suiting up alongside the great Mario Lemieux, but for all of his career he has never really been able to put it together.

So in some ways, we're not seeing anything new from Kovalev. Right now he's not scoring, he'll score a bunch soon enough, then he won't score, then he'll score a bunch and so forth. He's not some sort of consistent offensive threat night in and night out.

Sergei Samsonov reminds me of a young Alexei Kovalev in exactly that aspect. Needless to say they are very different players in terms of style, but both are extraordinarily talented but inconsistent and never able to score as much as people think they could.

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Well, I'm not one of those who confuses Kovalev with a superstar. What bothers me is not inconsistency but a near-total lack of strong games from him, coupled with the absence of the flash and dash that he used to throw into every game to some degree. He doesn't look like the same player as last season - never mind his freak years in Pittsburgh. And that points back to the knee, not his head.

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Well, I'm not one of those who confuses Kovalev with a superstar. What bothers me is not inconsistency but a near-total lack of strong games from him, coupled with the absence of the flash and dash that he used to throw into every game to some degree. He doesn't look like the same player as last season - never mind his freak years in Pittsburgh. And that points back to the knee, not his head.

How about his age? People get older and they wear out. And don't say what about Shanahan? He is a strong will. Kovalev never was a strong will, so don't expect him to be now. Too bad Koivu wasn't bigger. Let's just hope Carb figures out a way to motivate our moody talented center/winger while he is still under contract or our second line is F**ked no mater who he plays with. What really sucks is that can spread to is linemates. KOTSY doesn't need that.

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Well, I'm not one of those who confuses Kovalev with a superstar.

I don't think any of us think he is a legitimate superstar. He has the superstar-type talent, but he's never had the consistency to be a real superstar. He's put up big seasons, but look at who he played with those big seasons. True superstars make the people around them better, something Kovalev does not do.

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I don't think any of us think he is a legitimate superstar. He has the superstar-type talent, but he's never had the consistency to be a real superstar. He's put up big seasons, but look at who he played with those big seasons. True superstars make the people around them better, something Kovalev does not do.

Who did he play with? Lang and Straka? Those are superstars?

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Kovalev looked good tonight. The 2nd line although did not score a goal was incredible tonight tons of chances.

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Who did he play with? Lang and Straka? Those are superstars?

There was more to it than that. That particular year, they were the 2nd best line in hockey. Thing is, the best line in hockey played on the same team. Opponents put their top defensive line in against the Mario-Hrdina-Jagr line, leaving the Straka-Lang-Kovalev line to feed on the scraps. The line was good because of circumstances and chemistry, not because Kovalev made them better players. Just look at the dropoff when Jagr left. 20 fewer points for Kovalev.

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There was more to it than that. That particular year, they were the 2nd best line in hockey. Thing is, the best line in hockey played on the same team. Opponents put their top defensive line in against the Mario-Hrdina-Jagr line, leaving the Straka-Lang-Kovalev line to feed on the scraps. The line was good because of circumstances and chemistry, not because Kovalev made them better players. Just look at the dropoff when Jagr left. 20 fewer points for Kovalev.

The year Jagr left Kovy scored 64 points in 54 games playing mostly with Jan Hrdina and Marty Straka.

How do you know he didnt make the players better? Do you even know hockey? This wasnt a case of Marc Savard padding his stats playing with Kovalchuk and Hossa.

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Wow, calm down Aebischer4life. I'm pretty sure everyone on this board can be said to "know hockey".

It seems pretty clear to me that Kovalev's stats were padded in Pittsburgh. Which is much, much different from saying that he wasn't a good player. His linemates aren't as relevant as who he played on the PP with, namely Lemieux and Jagr. Kovalev played the point on the Pittsburgh PP, and racked up a lot of points doing so. Look at two guys who also played the point on the Pittsburgh PP, one before Kovalev and one after: Petr Nedved and Dick Tarnstrom. Nedved scored 99 points one year in Pittsburgh, which is 21 points more than his second best year. Tarnstrom meanwhile put up 41 and 52 points on the PP point... Dick Tarnstrom!

I'd say that everyone's stats got padded in Pittsburgh during the Lemieux/Jagr era, not just Kovalev's.

Edited by option+

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Wow, calm down Aebischer4life. I'm pretty sure everyone on this board can be said to "know hockey".

It seems pretty clear to me that Kovalev's stats were padded in Pittsburgh. Which is much, much different from saying that he wasn't a good player. His linemates aren't as relevant as who he played on the PP with, namely Lemieux and Jagr. Kovalev played the point on the Pittsburgh PP, and racked up a lot of points doing so. Look at two guys who also played the point on the Pittsburgh PP, one before Kovalev and one after: Petr Nedved and Dick Tarnstrom. Nedved scored 99 points one year in Pittsburgh, which is 21 points more than his second best year. Tarnstrom meanwhile put up 41 and 52 points on the PP point... Dick Tarnstrom!

I'd say that everyone's stats got padded in Pittsburgh during the Lemieux/Jagr era, not just Kovalev's.

Kovalev only scored 8 goals on the pp in 02 and 12 in 01. I dont remember in 03 but in 01 he lead the league in even strenght goals with 32. Nedved got 99 points in 1995-96! That has nothing to do with Kovalev. Nedved racked up a lot of points because he played with Jagr and Lemeux which Kovalev didnt.

It's pretty clear to me when Mario sais Kovalev is the most talented player he has ever played with.

Edited by Aebischer4life

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Kovalev's talent has never been in doubt, it's his ability to produce up to that talent level that's in question.

In 2001, Kovalev had 37 PP points, our of 95 total. That's 39% of his points.

In 2003, Kovalev had 29 PP points with Pittsburgh, out of 64 total. That's 45 % of his total.

During his three huge years n Pittsburgh, Kovalev had 88 power play points, out of 235 total. That's 37% of his total. That is a very large % of points coming on the PP. I don't have enough time or patience to do a statistical comparison with other players, but that seems pretty high to me. For example, when Jagr had 51 PPP in 95-96 (a ridiculous number), it was still only 34% of his total.

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Kovalev's talent has never been in doubt, it's his ability to produce up to that talent level that's in question.

In 2001, Kovalev had 37 PP points, our of 95 total. That's 39% of his points.

In 2003, Kovalev had 29 PP points with Pittsburgh, out of 64 total. That's 45 % of his total.

During his three huge years n Pittsburgh, Kovalev had 88 power play points, out of 235 total. That's 37% of his total. That is a very large % of points coming on the PP. I don't have enough time or patience to do a statistical comparison with other players, but that seems pretty high to me. For example, when Jagr had 51 PPP in 95-96 (a ridiculous number), it was still only 34% of his total.

I will do a stats breakdown in a couple minutes but I just wanna say whats the big difference between 34% and 37%?

Wasnt Jagr the same player who got more then half his points last season on the pp? How does being good on a pp discount his game?

Just to start, In 2001-02 Kovy played 67 games and had 76 points. 53 of those were even strenght.

Next best player on the team had 57 points in 79 games. Jan Hrdina.

Markus Naslund was 2nd in even strenght points that year with 59 in 81 games! only 6 more points in 14 more games!

Edited by Aebischer4life

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It's pretty clear to me when Mario sais Kovalev is the most talented player he has ever played with.

And nobody here is disputing that talent. But talent isn't everything. Anyone around the league knows how talented Alexei Kovalev is. What they also know is that he is inconsistent and only shows up during the regular season about half of the time. If Alex Kovalev had Saku Koivu's heart, he'd be an MVP candidate.

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Looked pretty good dipsy-doodling against Tampa Bay last night on the powerplay.

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Look for him to score when we really need one in.

Don't expext 50 goals expect the win.

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Looks like it's all been said.

He kind of is The Hockey Gods. He lets our team play our game and then at the end, if we're still in trouble he'll play an on-shift and win us the game. Just look at last night; we were getting dominated, Kovalev's line had a greatshiftand everything turned right there.

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