Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Kovalev Restarting PR Push?

I don't mean to call into question any of his charity work, as I think he's truly amazing for doing all that he does. However, the recent story by Dave Stubbs in the Montreal Gazette left me feeling a Kovalev-sized hole needed filling.

I was wondering whether that might have been the intent.

Take this quote, for instance:
"I've never had anything in my life to match what I experienced in Montreal,"

One doesn't say things like that to a Montreal journalist without knowing what will happen. It seems that once again Kovy would like to let his remaining fan base in Montreal know that leaving wasn't his choice (wasn't it?) and that he'd be back in a heartbeat in his own airplane given the chance.

I take no issue with Kovalev expressing these sentiments. I find it entirely natural for someone to leave the Montreal Canadiens for the Senators and feel more than a pang of nostalgia now and again. He's like the man who cheated on his astoundingly beautiful wife, loses her and gets to realizing that he never knew he had it so good.

Criticism in Ottawa

One has to wonder how much of this outpouring has to do with his beautiful estranged Montreal and how much it has to do with nagging newbie Ottawa.

Justified or not, the Sens Army in a fit of Fishermania have taken to criticising all their talented players for underproducing. Despite seemingly turning the team around, scoring the 4th most goals in the East and doing it with a rookie goalie, the ever-more demanding Ottawites have turned their grievance to where the goals come from. No longer enough for a player to play well in a win, he must entertain and above all else find himself on p. 1 of scoring leaders.

We've been down this road in Montreal. With Kovalev. In 2006-07, it was that he didn't play like Begin. In 2007-08, too few even-strength goals, last season too much time off. But where there was sometimes justification for the fans of a losing team to lash out for the renewed excellence of their star, in Ottawa they're turning things around, they're surpassing expectations given the circumstances.

Kovalev must have at one time thought: "leaving Montreal, leaving the crazies". Imagine to be right back to the same with a seemingly more infuriating bunch (where even the owner can't keep his mouth shut).

Koivu on Kovalev

In the week of Kovalev and Montreal feel-good fest, Koivu has also spoken out from sunny Anaheim to set te record straight on Kovy (and he):
"That's the thing that always kind of bothered me," Koivu told Sportsnet. "People were giving their opinion, even though they had no idea what was going on in the room. We never had any problems with Alex whatsoever. He was kind, he was a great teammate throughout those years. For whatever reasons, he sometimes gets criticized about not being a great teammate. I have no idea where that comes from."

I guess that puts to bed the idea that they didn't like each other. I knew it was Higgins...

Kovalev tonight

While Kovalev will be tying to do better, the Habs ought to be careful about some of the other threates in the lineup too. 20 players have contributed for the Sens 80 regulation goals so far. Michalek has 15, Fisher 12 and Alfredsson 9 (count your blessings Sens fans...) and then there are 4 more with more than 4 goals, including Kovalev.

The Habs by contrast have 16 goalscorers for 76 goals in more games. Cammalleri has 16 and injured Gionta 8. There are 3 with 6 (Pleks, Metropolit and Moen) and then Hamrlik with 4. But as our scoring isn't balanced, we don't harp on about guys not scoring much, now do we?

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