-Kovalchuk has tremendous talent to take the puck and make a move, but he does NOT bring anyone to the next level with him.
Go back and watch tonight's game and try to tell me that. Kovalchuk's passing in the offensive zone has been outstanding lately.
Kovalchuk is a defensive liability. He might score 35-40 goals, but if you are a -25 than you were out there for a goal. Sure you can come up with excuses all you want, but the other night was no isolated incident. I'd rather have a player put up less goals and have a better plus/minus. Anyone can score lots of goals and play for a team who doesn't win (HINT -See Atlanta when he was there).
Kovalchuk is a poor defensive player, but he shouldn't be -11.
The debate about him playing Left Wing or Right Wing is silly. He should be able to play both. Sure he might be better on one than the other, but we really haven't seen such dramatic changes that it should effect his play. Sure he is coming down his off side, but so what. Shanahan made it happen. Sykora does it. It seems like an excuse. The powerplay garbage about him not being good on the point is also garbage. For years Sykora played that point and didn't have NEARLY the same mistakes happen to himn. Why than is Kovalchuk having these issues? Isn't Kovy a better player? Don't even begin to say Sykora was a better defensively or who was his defensive partner (Ah... Brian Rafalski)? Please stop the excuses.
Sykora did not play the point during those years, Jason Arnott did.
Kovalchuk cannot hangle pressure. I've stated before he cannot handle being number 3 in the shootout. Being the number one shooter has zero stress, because NO MATTER what happens someone on your team will ALWAYS get a chance next. Kovalchuk cannot handle the stress of being the numnber 3 guy. Why does this matter? If he cannot handle that stress, he cannot handle the playoffs. He has already demonstrated both.
Yawn. Like Marv said, he has a billion overtime goals and will probably retire with the NHL record.
The Devils have always been about team. Kovalchuk is about himself. Sure he'll pass, but he is more interested in controlling that puck. It is his game and he seems to be just as excited stick handling through five guys than he is when he scores. This does not help the team and Ilya won't be changing his gamne so close to thirty years of age.
Remember against the Flyers in the playoffs when he stick handled through the team and then didn't score? He looked really happy after missing the net there, I can remember it well. He was laughing and joking with a Russian teammate on the bench afterwards.