Like Charlie Rich said …..

- September 1st, 2010

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.
At end-of-season meetings, Jason Spezza told Bryan Murray to trade him if the GM felt it was best for the team.
What did Alex Kovalev tell Murray?
An interesting clip from Murray’s get together with the media Tuesday:
“I know he’s happy. I know he loves playing here,” said Murray. “I think that playing with a couple of players in particular he played with last year, he’s really excited to see how they progressed going forward. I expect he’ll be good.”
Is it just me that reads something fishy (and I don’t mean Mike) into that? Kovalev is excited to see how some of the players he played with last year (I assume that’s his linemates) have progressed? Does that mean he hopes they have? Does that mean he didn’t think they were very good last year? Does that mean he’s blaming others for his poor performances after the Olympics, when he was really bad? And exactly what players are we talking about? Nick Foligno? Mike Fisher?
What exactly did Kovalev tell Murray behind those closed doors?
Murray remains in full support of the veteran, saying he thinks he is still a good player who could have made the difference in last spring’s playoff loss to the Penguins. But he also says Kovalev is “more of a complimentary role now. He helps other players play better hockey than maybe they have in the past. I think there were some productive players because of him.”
The problem with that is, “complimentary players” shouldn’t be making $5 million a year. That’s star money.
Kovalev is a proud man who you can be sure still sees himself as a star. He still has all the tools. The question is, does he also have the pride, heart and determination to erase what should be a red-faced finish for him last season?
In the past, Kovelev has often lacked those qualities. But now he is in the final year of a contract that could very well be his last in the NHL. Now his legacy is at stake.
Maybe that will make a difference.

Categories: Hockey

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12 comments

  1. BobbyG says:

    You are right on Donny-boy; Murray is no longer suggesting “Kovi is a game breaker/go to guy” and now he is introducing the notion Kovalev will play more of a “supporting role”. Ya think! Whatever the role…I hope he sees someone soon for a heart transplant. I guess Brian got burnt making the mistake of over promising and under delivering and now he wants to take a different approach. You are right again, who are the players “who progressed” going forward”? You cannot progress going backward can you?????? His linemates for most of last year didn’t play well going backward…and what has Kovalev witnessed going forward? What’s up with people saying “going forward”? I hope that in October the team will be great…going forward. When my tranny is fixed I hope I will be able to go forward going forward. I wanted Pjaarvi-Svenson and Tarsenko in Ottawa playing forward going forward…I hope Karlsson will have more focus on what happens going backwards than what goes on going forward…going forward.

  2. Visitor says:

    I don’t understand…

    Murray doesn’t make mistakes and he was fully confident in Kovalev’s ability to be a game-breaker.

    Here’s what Mad Murray said when he signed Kovy (Just doing a little research Don…I know you’re not allowed to criticize management but we are…):

    “He’s one of the highest-skilled guys in the National Hockey League,” said Murray. “Talking to him, he was very happy to come. He thinks we have a good club here, and thinks he can be a nice addition to it, which certainly we believe.”

    The Senators GM said he hopes the 36-year-old Kovalev will score “30-plus” goals and help improve the team’s power play.

    “He makes players around him a lot better,” said Murray. “He’s a big-time playmaker, he’s real strong on the puck, and when he gets the chance to play on the power play, he makes the power play work, he’s got a big shot.”

    So Murray has gone from expecting 30+ goals to having him be a peripheral player? What will be the expectations next year for Gonchar if he delivers 25-30 points? Will Gonchar become a 5th defenseman? What about the mysterious Jason Spezza? How will he react when people throw verbal tomatoes at him after his first careless play?

    Here’s what I’d like to see “moving forward.”

    Less crapping on players in general. Players outside the region see and hear what happens here. There’s a reason why Gonchar needed a NTC to sign, it’s because this is a circus.

    Some actual…ANALYSIS of the team, management decisions, critique and examination of management, the players, honest evaluations of all players instead of facile “Alfie Alfie” reports. P.S. Don, if you think Alfie is getting 80 points and a point a game this year, can you pass the Kool Aid? They guy is on the decline and will get injured. I’m sure he’s good for 18-23 goals and 50-60 points, but the PPG days died when the Pizza Line did.

    No worries, no worries. I look forward to this powerhouse team carving home-ice advantage and winning three playoff games…what a heartwarming story that will be. The demolished and stalled Ottawa Senators, afraid to cut ties with their sweethearts, afraid to start a real movement that will win…getting bounced in round 1 by Washington or Pittsburgh.

    But we won’t be disappointed because of “effort”, the new buzzword for “mediocrity through local hires.”

  3. Visitor says:

    As for Kovalev’s legacy Don…

    Ask Kovalev to see his Stanley Cup ring. That’s the only legacy that matters, he’s a WINNER. The rest and what people think is birdcage lining.

  4. Old Geezer says:

    Bobby G, I have seen your tranny. Sheeee’s quite cute. Personally I don’t really understand why the media interviews GM’s, coaches or players. They never have anything to say but rhetoric and jargon.

  5. Nancy D says:

    I would hazard a guess and say he was referring to Nick Foligno. He spent a lot of practice time with Nick working on puck skills, so I’m guessing that would be it. I saw a few clips last year of their free practice times and wow, Kovalev has slick moves. If Foligno get even half of them down he’ll be a whole lot more dangerous this season.

  6. BobbyG says:

    It has always been my cntention that most GMs are overrated. Now there are some who come along and demonstrate sound and responsible management practices and can find diamonds in the rough. In my opinion, Lamorillo is one of those who benfitted from an outstanding goalie in Brodeur. Many suggest the GM favoured a defensive approach but I suggest he had to play that way because he didn’t have the horses to put the puck in the net. As a result, they had to play a defensive game and had the luxury of arguably the best goalie who ever lived carry the team! Now the GM signs Kovalchuk to a 100m dollar contract and to make room he will have to let some people go. I will be watching with interest to see how jersey will do this year…not only will they have an aging goaltender shoulder much of the load, but how will the team respond when some of the good friends were let go to make room for another Russian who historically are not known as “team guys”. Will there be resentment in the dressing room…I suspect so. I predict they will finish the season just making the playoffs…if that.

  7. Visitor says:

    Geezer,

    They give jargon because the media allow them to, plain and simple.
    Journalists formulate the questions and if they throw softballs, well the GM and players will bat them out of the park every single time.

    I can at least remember in Montreal guys like Bertrand Raymond, Red Fisher, asking probing questions and standing up to management and formulating cutting pieces in the daily fishwrap.
    I don’t know why we can’t get that here…maybe the media will indeed lose access to the team if they don’t flower up management and team decisions?

    Nancy, I agree Foligno has some potential. He isn’t afraid to muck it up (unlike Regin and Karlsson) and he doesn’t have the greatest amount of talent but he can score 15-20 I guess, if all goes well.

    Did I hear right that Leclaire is getting a one-year extension? If so, this is pure folly…but Mad Melnyk and Madder Murray have been known to reward underachievers in their day.

  8. BobbyG says:

    Hey V, if Daisey can get a contract exztension and an extra $250k for scoring only 2 goals (and 2 less than the year before), you shouldn’t be surprised by Leclaire’s signing. Any guesses on how many Daisey will score this year? I hear often that he is not here to score goals. Hogwash…every forward in today’s NHL needs to score goals (unless he is a Boogard or someone of that ilk) and 2 or 4 goals doesn’t cut the mustard! I don’t know why he is on the Senator’s hockey club and why he is in the NHL?! I don’t think he could score in the AHL! He is slow, limited mobility, never went in a corner first in his life, can’t break a pane of glass with his shot, afraid to carry the puck, couldn’t stickhandle past a pylon and couldn’t beat up Karlsson. It was a joke and a farce that the 21 year old Smith was in the manures and Daisey in the NHL. Had Ottawa not signed Winchester, his NHL career would be over…so, why did Ottawa re-sign him? Having not seen Hoffman play against anything but junior, I will suggest he will be far better than Butler or Corpusal I would take him right now over the 27-28 year old Daisey the Air Rifle.

  9. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby, What are you talking about. Winchester plays great in the corners.. Re Butler, lets give the kid a chance. He looked pretty good in the 2 games he played last year. Ièm thinking Kevin and Bobby are the same guy. :)

  10. BobbyG says:

    Depends what you call great Mikey…as I said, Daisey never went into a corner first in his life and to me, that is not great…great is going in and coming out with a puck…no going in late and smashing someone against the boards and then falling down like he does! Bulter looked good? I know the papers said he looked good but what did he do? I saw nothing…if I was a kid who got a chance to play a couple of games in the show and was a noted goal scorer, I would want the puck and create as many scoring chances as I could…skating up and down the ice quickly and like Daisey….never wanting the puck shows me squat! I have respect for Kev but he is in love with that blow hard, crass, potty mouthed, egotistical, overrated blowhard Burke…I think his Brian’s mother was Martha. I will take kids from Major Junior Hockey any day and most kids that play 3 plus years of varsity hockey in the states, like Daisey, don’t amount to much! That is just a fact…if they are worth their salt, they are drafted and leave after 2 years or before. As I said Mikey, if it wasn’t for Ottawa, Daisey wouldn’t be playing hockey in the NHL!

  11. Kevin F. says:

    Ain’t been around these parts for very long have ya Mikey,let’s hope Butler is as good as Jesse my alter ego Bobbys head will explode.

  12. BGoody says:

    Kev, I will make the call right now that Bulter will be better than Daisey; a NHL player couldn’t be worse! That doesn’t mean he is NHL material though. I am with you on the Panthers broadcasts; anemic is a word that comes to mind. In the early days Denis was nazal and subdued but like anyone would he got better as he got more comfortable. I like his candour! Galley, as you suggested, lost his credibility early as his eargerness to please Ottawa Senator brasst took precident over honesty and integrity. He has transformed into a Pierre McGurie wannabe and sadly, this is what the networks want. If you listen closely, like McGuire he contradicts himself in the same broadcst and certainly from game to game. Collapsing down low is a good thing and a bad thing in the same game as is a pinching defencemen (Karlsson as an expample got caught up the ice so often it wasn’t funny). No one master McGuire’s contrived exhuberance though…but give Galley time!

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