So Kovy is a Sen…huh.

I’ve posted a few times on this, but now that it has had some time to sink in, I’ll give my final impression of this signing.

This isn’t going to be rocket science, or shocking.

Kovy can be great, not good, or very good, but great.  When he gets the puck on the half wall, and decides to control it, he’s as good, or better than anyone in the league.  He is a massive man, with hands like butter, and seems to know exactly how to use the two in concert.  He can make most any player in the NHL look like a 5 yr. old trying to get the puck off of his father in a game of keep away.

He’s also got a wrist shot that every goaltender in the NHL is afraid of.  He simply freezes goaltenders, making them afraid to move, for fear that the slightest cheat in any direction will give Kovy the puck sized hole he seems able to exploit at will.

Lastly, when he’s dragging two defenders around the ice, he has a sick ability to dish the puck to the open man.

Make no mistake, if this guy had a Crosby-esque fire in his belly, he’d be among the greatest offensive players to ever lace them up.

Alas, he does not.

Kovy can be invisible, not just floating, or off and on, but invisible.  These other times, he’s not just having a bad game, he seems depressed.  apathetic, or worse, defeated.  Maybe he’s a victim of his style, and skill, in that, as he doesn’t play a “complete” game, if he isn’t on, he becomes of little or no value, unlike someone like Alfie or even Fisher, who contribute in other ways, even if it’s not their night skill wise.

I have no illusions that Kovalev is suddenly going to become this beast that is at the top of hs game shift in, shift out.  That’s not realistic with any player, and with Kovy, it just isn’t even approaching a realistic expectation.

(But, Kovy, I’m willing to eat my words, and do not doubt you can do this, I just question if you will.)

But I do believe he will contribute far more than a Vermette, and in some regards, even a Heatley.

This team is deep in “grinders” and “role players”.  Sure it would have been nice to sign a “complete player”, for a great long term deal, but, nobody else did, because, that’s not realistic either.  Too many critics of this signing are holding it up in isolation, like there were a number of other better deals made, or even still available.  That’s not true.  In context, $10M, over 2 yrs, is a good UFA signing.  UFA signings, inherently, are premium prices.

I wish people would stop criticising GM’s as though there was a world of great options out there, just dying to sign “budget” deals.   This doesn’t happen.  So why are some so quick to make this fantasy deal the comparison to which UFA signings are held?  Because it’s easier than actually examining the complexities of the reality.

I’m not saying this was a great signing, I’m saying, at UFA time, there are no “great” signings, so get over it.  This was why Murray locked up the core, to avoid having to use UFA’s in key positions.

If you’re not happy being a bit unhappy with a UFA deal…then you don’t get it, and should quit looking to UFA’s a some sort of bonanza of opportunity.

So, in this context, Kovy is a likely to be a good contributor to this team, not a “cornerstone”, and at 2yrs., if the wheels fall off, it won’t cripple the team in the future.  Ultimately, considering the circumstances this team has found itself in, and the fact it is a UFA deal, this is a solid signing.  Sure there were younger players, but they wanted more money and term.  Sure there were more “character” players, but they wanted as much money, and didn’t bring the offense the team will need up front.  UFA time is about compromise, from a position of weakness, it’s not a Vegas style $2.99 all you can eat seafood buffet.

(However, the calibre of comments on this site never ceases to astound me.  This site is attracting some very astute, and practical hockey discussion.  And that’s what I love, good hockey talk, thanks so much.)

Back to Kovy.

So where does he play?  To me, that is the biggest question, and one that leaves me thinking Murray must want to do more in the top 6 ranks.  The fact is, both Kovy, and Alfie, are RW’ers, not forwards.  They aren’t going to play together, unless one is willing to play out of position, which, to me, is like asking a race horse to pull a wagon.  Why bother?  Buy a donkey, it’s cheaper.  No, at 5+M, you put your players where they’ll be at their best.

So, who plays with Spez?  Kovy or Alfie?  At this point, I think it depends on who is available on the LW.  Ideally, Murray is able to land a left winger who forechecks with authority, and can go to the net.  Hmmm, sure sounds like Penner.  And I think that may have been the plan all along.

Take a look at this;

1A line

Penner – Spez – Kovy

Penner is your forechecker, who retrieves the puck, and feeds it to either Spez or Kovy.  Penner then goes to the net, and plays from the dots down to the end boards, where his size has the biggest impact.

Spezza is Spezza.  He can play either side of the ice, and with his developing shot, is much like Kovy in that he is a threat to both pass, or shoot.  With Spez roving, and providing down-low support and Kovy providing half wall support, puck possession would be strong.  The opposing D would be stuck in front of the net, leaving the forwards chasing Kovy and Spez, who can both dangle, pass, and score.  In this regard, Kovy is a big improvement over Heatley.  Heatley was a one timer, who found holes to hide in, forcing his linemates to contend with the defenders.   Kovy can one time, dangle, pass, or shoot under tight checking.  He is far more offensively versatile than Heatley, but not as individually prolific.  I think he makes this team better, as it becomes more unpredictable, thus more difficult to defend.

The big question is, can Murray land a rugged top 6 winger to play on the 1A line?

What about Foligno, some will say.

Maybe, but it’s a lot to ask of him, and I’m not convinced he has the finishing skill, or size, to be a legitimate threat downlow, such as Penner would be.

1B line

Foligno – Fisher – Alfie

This is the line that plays against the oppositions top line.  This trio can forecheck, backcheck, and contribute offensively.  Alfie doesn’t find himself on the “B” line because he’s lessor to Kovy, rather, because he’s a better all around player.  The story of his career.

Alfie’s like that guy at the office that gets all the work dumped on him, because he can do it, while others get away with doing less, because that’s all they can do.  It ain’t fair, but that’s life.

As a consummate “team” player, Alfie will perform no matter where he plays.

So, in short, the value of this trade hinges greatly on how the top 6 looks come training camp.  No doubt Murray has a vision, but whether or not he can turn it into reality remains to be seen.



8 Responses to “So Kovy is a Sen…huh.”

  1. i like it and don’t forget we would probably get Cogliano so the 3rd line would be:
    a 3rd line that can cause lots of trouble to the opposing team.Especially because of the speed of Cogliano and Shannon and there’s Neil to protect them.

  2. Gongshow Says:

    Like the first comment, I was going to say the same. You’ve forgotten the other pieces of this deal (if it remains as it was intially). Cogliano would be a much better fit on the second line. Despite my man-crush on Fisher, he’s best suited to be the best paid 3rd line centreman in the league. That second line you’ve proposed does nothing to help with the secondary scoring problem this team has had since Havlat walked out the door.

  3. My only reluctance in all of this is to break up the Foligno/Fisher/Shannon line.

    I know it sounds stupid to organize 1st and 3rd lines around Shannon, but I really believe his speed and work ethic along with Clouston’s system was the combination that made Fisher and Foligno click.

    Since Schaefer left, the Sens have tried all kinds of line combinations to help Fisher generate the numbers they expected. Now that they finally found the right combination is it worth breaking it up?

    • Woozle man Says:

      I’m also reluctant to break up Foligno/Fisher/Shannon. But I think that swapping Alfredsson for Shannon is both necessary and safe. Alf is the captain, and a complete hockey player, he’ll be able to play with both Fisher and Foligno. Both those guys would love to play with Alfie: he can dig the puck out of anywhere, pass, skate, and shoot. That would be a great second line.

      Though I don’t like Cogliano on the third line, especially paired with Shannon. Their lack of size would make their forecheck pretty ineffective, especially against the brute squad (leafs defense). Given that we now have Kovalev, I would want O’Sullivan coming back in any trade with EDM: O’Sullivan Fisher Alfredsson && Foligno Kelly Shannon look more effective in my eyes.

      Yes, I know Cogliano is probably a better player, but I think O’Sullivan would be a better fit.

  4. One top line needs to be a “shut-down” line. Ideally, as this line will log heavy minutes vs the oppositions top offensive line, they should also provide some offense. That was my rationale, FWIW. I agree, secondary scoring remains an issue, but with the departure of Heatley, I cannot see that being fixed, that is too much “fixing”.
    I too like the Foligno/Fisher/Shannon line, but, don’t forget, the lines juggle pretty quickly, so what is on paper can be adjusted in game, according to whose going, on both rosters.
    A third line, to me, would be Neil, Kelly, Ruutu. They can all skate, forecheck, and play a solid two way game.
    4th line is Bass, Regin, Winchester.
    I see Shannon and Donovan being the “replacements”. Shonnon as the offensive injury fill in, and Donovan the grinder fill in. There are ALWAYS injuries. Neither, to my thinking, own guaranteed roster spots.

    Foligno (w.e.)
    Bass [Waiver exempt (w.e.)]
    Regin (w.e.)
    Winchester (w.e.)

    Lee (w.e.)
    Picard (w.e.)
    (Karlsson) (w.e.)


    A 23 man roster.

    Gone are Smith & Auld, either traded, waived, or bought-out.

    I have feeling, with the cap being tighter now, Penner may be the only roster player involved, along with Oil prospect cast off Schremp (RFA), and two desired 1A prospects (ex. 2 of Eberle, MSP, or Petry).
    Currently EDM has the prospect depth to do this, and with Katz, they have the budget. Penner is a salary dump, which Murray feels is an asset, Heatley is viewed as an asset by the Oil, and a salary dump by Murray.
    This would save OTT 4.133M right off the hop, and clear additional space when Penners contract expires in 3 seasons.

    Heatley (and his 4M advance) & Schubert
    Penner, Schremp, Eberle and MSP.
    This rounds out the OTT roster, fixes the dire salary cap issues, and re-stocks the farm. All three are major strategic moves, all for the cost of one player and a salary dump.
    But, just talking…nothing more to this.

    • Woozle man Says:

      I like it, except for Schremp, the guy is kind of a bum, and we have our own marginal 2nd line prospects with conditioning issues (no names :))

  5. excellent thoughts. if only we can get a certain NMC removed 🙂

  6. Why do people keep putting regin on the 4th line. He doesn’t project as a grinder to me. Infact, I would put him with kovie and even give zubov a chance to play with that line. Those two players have size, skill and are defensively responsible. That is a line that could be electric (it could also fizzle). But it would allow fisher foligno and shannon to stay together and, dare i say, if we kept heatly the big line together, leaving us with 3 very solid lines and alot of heart and soul guys which could form a shutdown unit or just fill in the blank minutes with energy and physicality.

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