A Troubling Loss
And I don’t mean the game.
Losing Kovy, in a meaningless game, to a useless goon like Fedoruk (who should have been back in the box for the charge on Karlsson) is just disgusting. Once again the officiating of the NHL proves to be, at best, incompetent. Chris Lee, a one man officiating wrecking crew to Ottawa, once again used the rule book like it was his personal play thing. Seriously, is it a rulebook, or a guideline? Because right now, the officials of this league have near cart blanche to amend it, apply it or ignore it as they see fit, from shift to shift.
But I digress.
The knee injury remains undetermined, in terms of severity, and the results from an MRI should be available tomorrow. So we wait to see. Needless to say, Kovy will not be playing in the Alfie celebration Saturday night. With the post season set to begin the 14th, that leaves a 4 day rest, which, if the injury isn’t too severe, may have him close to ready come the start of the first round.
The other side of the coin is, with the recent lack of regulation contribution from Kovy, how much of a loss would an injury to AK27 really represent? This is a very difficult question to answer. The fact is, even if he isn’t producing, he does force teams to pay attention to him, out of nothing more than fear, if not reality. This opens up the ice for others. Personally, I was hoping to see Kovy prove his worth in the post season, but that was based more on hope than reality. The reality is his ice time has been declining, his production has been bottom six over the last half of the season, and his back check remains a major issue, he’s been a + player once since March 2nd, a span of 17 games, and has accumulated a whopping 2 pts (1G, 1A) in that time. 17 games, 15:34 ATOI, no PK time, lots of PP time, and 2 pts.
To me, the potential loss of Kovy represents more of a depth challenge, than an actual production loss. Who takes his top 6 minutes? Shannon? Smith? Keller? Cheechoo? This is the problem an injured Kovalev presents.
If I had my drothers, we’ d see a shuffle like this –
Regin – Spezza – Alfredsson
Michalek – Fisher – Kelly
Foligno – Cullen – Neil
Ruutu – Winchester – Z. Smith
I think this line-up provides the right mix of offence, defence and grit. If the Sens are going to play the Dirtybirds (I beieve the Pens will purposely lose their final 2 games, in order to both secure this match-up, and improve their draft position), they’ll have to have lines that can shut down the oppositions offense. This role, to me, falls on the second line, a line that can skate, check and defend, frustrating the high powered offence of Pittsburgh. The third and fourth lines are interchangeable, with the exception of Cullen who, if Fisher struggles, could claim the second line centre role.
A major wrench in the works is Michalek. Does he have a torn ACL? That’s the rumour, and the official talk around his injury has done nothing to dispel this thinking. If this is in fact the case, expecting him to perform as a top 6 is beyond reasonable.