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Elias on Kovalchuk

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http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_sports/the_hits_keep_on_coming_B71k9Ym8AzifuS5toJ8VJJ/1

"He's never going to win anything by himself and he knows that, but he grew up in Atlanta where people were telling him to go do what he wanted because he was that good," Elias said. "You have to trust your teammates and use one another.

"Nobody wants to take anything away from him, but there is a time and a place. He can be as creative as he wants, but there is a way to play on defense and without the puck.

"It was a different game 10 years ago, but our line [The Devils' incomparable comet of an A Line featuring Elias, Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora] had so much success because we had our freedom offensively but we knew how to play within the team system defensively.

"Ilya is working. He plays hard -- you can't take anything away from his hard work -- but there are times he tries so hard in the offensive zone he doesn't have the energy to come back on defense."

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Of COURSE Kovalchuk will adjust. He WANTS to... and he'll get help too obviously.

I dont even feel like the honeymoon is over -- I feel like people ARE starting to trust him more now (as if they have a choice) and will talk to him, you know? You can't grow if no one tells you what you're doing wrong or right for that matter.

He's Russian too and that's hard for US to work with but hockey is international so -- the communication should be fine. As long as Kovalchuk understands he's not WRONG ... and the other guys aren't correct over him.... it's the SYSTEM that is right. Any nationality has to come in and know that. As all scientists say - Germans will fall in line Swedes will even if they have ZERO clue as to why -- but Russians will question and do it their own way because they know better - they're Russian of course!!

I know NO Czech scientist -- go figure huh?

Edited by Pepperkorn

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Of COURSE Kovalchuk will adjust. He WANTS to... and he'll get help too obviously.

I sure hope that is the case. I'll bet you even MantaRay hopes for the best!

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I think it's apparent that Kovalchuk is already trying to change. If you look at him in the offensive zone and neutral zone, there have been very few times this season where he ramps up to full speed and purely looks to create offense. He doesn't move down low, even along the sideboards or behind the net, all that often at even strength and I think that's because he's conscious of the need to backcheck.

That being said, he was burned badly on the SHG against the Rangers and was lazy in getting back on a 3-on-2 earlier in the game. He's not perfect, he doesn't fully get it yet, but I think he's trying.

And this might go back to what Tri said months ago, but I'm getting the impression that Kovalchuk is trying to think the game the way the coaching staff is preaching, rather than just trying to find space. He looks to me like a player that's devoting brainpower to check through his options of what's available vs. what's the "right" play, and he just isn't up to speed on that yet. As a result, he misses passes he should be making, his reads aren't that quick, and he isn't generating offense.

I just don't believe that Kovalchuk's offensive instincts are gone. It seems to me that he's trying to make them fit the system and he's struggling with that.

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I just hope that in all this process of "taming the wild horse".... you don't lose what you wanted when you got the guy (and spent all that money on too)

that too doesn't make sense....

he IS at that point when players start trading points for championship play though......hopefully :unsure:

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Kovalchuk WILL fit into this system at some point this season!

The Devils WILL recover from this terrible first month of the season!

The Devils WILL make the playoffs!

Keep the Faith!!!!!!!!!!!

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A big problem I see is that every time he does his thing the other teams just gang up on him and knock the puck away.. He never seems to have enough space on the ice to do much..

I just want to point out this team hasn't had any (or close to zero) breakaways so far.. Why?

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Please give Patty the C

Please show Patty and his $6M the door.

He's right but he needs to point the finger to himself.

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This entire team is off its game, Kovi didnt look this lost at the end of last season, he (and everyone else) seems to have regressed over the off season. maybe its Mac ???

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We tried that already, it didn't work

It never got a real chance to work, he was the C for one year - the last time we went to the second round, btw - and then Sutter wanted the North American boy as captain.

It's past the point where you can really give Elias the C as anything more than a stand-in anyway, the next C is either Zach or we're in a whole mess of trouble.

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I watched Kovalchuk during the Rangers game while he doesnt have the puck. His play makes me wonder if he even knows what hockey is. He just skates in circles in the neutral zone and waits for the puck to come to him. Just look at that third goal. Completely let the ranger take the puck to the net and score.

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I remember the day when Devils players kept comments like these in the locker room. :noclue:

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Elias is exactly right and has echoed what myself and others have said here previously.

From the time Kovalchuk was able to play the sport, he was probably the best scorer on his teams or had so much talent he was just told "go play". What little he knows about the game in terms of system or responsibility on the ice, was probably self-tought or picked up as he went along. I do not think this player has actually been "coached" more then a few days of his hockey life and certainly not on a team like Atlanta.

He's only 27, he's not arrogant and he loves the game. He's not impossible to "reprogram". He has to unlearn bad habits and lazy play. If this season is lost, take the rest of the way to do it so he can return next year a better player.

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Elias is maybe right (ok.. he is right) but that have nothing to do on public press. That must stay in the locker room. And you wanna see him as a captain again ?

And i don't see him having a very good season yet too...

(since how many years btw ? )

Edited :

Oops... I didn't see Maddog2009 comment... he totally beats me there.

Edited by moustic

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Square peg meets round hole, big mistake signing the guy in the first place. Elias has been dreadful too but in this case I think he's right. Over 12M in combined salaries and clearly they aren't even on the same page.

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He has to unlearn bad habits and lazy play.

Very difficult task IMO. He's been playing a certain way in the NHL for 8 years. Difficult, not impossibble.

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i'd simplify the d-game for him and assign him to shadow the left winger on every line he is up against.

(*psssst*, LW lines up on the RW.....and again it's a waste of his abilities :P)

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