Friday, February 25, 2011

Kovy checks out of the Hotel Senatoria

Happy Birthday Kovy, pack your bags you're going on a trip, one way, no return...

The great experiment known as Alex Kovalev has come to an end in Ottawa, the enigmatic Russian gladly waiving his no trade clause on his 38th birthday to leave behind his days in the capital and grabbing the opportunity to  head to a playoff bound team in Pittsburgh, a place where he once showed some flashes of the talent that Ottawa thought they had acquired a few years back.

To say that Kovy was a bust in Ottawa would be akin to suggesting that the Great Depression was but a mild recess.

From a rather inconsistent work ethic, to a less than stellar run on the NHL points abacus Mr. Kovalev never really lived up to the promise Bryan Murray seemed to believe that he offered.

His arrival in Ottawa came on the heels of the Dany Heatley soap opera, the mercurial Heatley having expressed little desire to remain in the line up under coach Cory Clouston, poisoned the well in the city with his petulance and pouting,  eventually finding his freedom (and eternal damnation in Ottawa) when he was traded to San Jose.

He of course will remain in the model  of a Vince Carter/Chris Bosh personna for Sens fans, destined to hear the boos upon every return, Kovalev on the other hand never really accomplished much in Ottawa to find a similar vein of angst.

Rather his departure will elicit not much more than "jeez it was about time", followed by a shrug of the shoulders and a "whatcha gonna do".

A few weeks ago the city seemed to accept the lost season with the fond farewells directed at Mike Fisher, sent off to Nashville to be with his bride and play for the local hockey team.  His trade by Ottawa gave the fans the opportunity to bid him farewell and thank him for his work ethic, community presence and passion for playing for the Sens.

Suffice to say when it comes to the Kovalev trade, those glowing accolades will be missing from the letters to the editor of the Citizen, Sun and Le Droit over the next few days.

Many Sens fans questioned his acquisition at the time of his arrival, having watched the preview reels from Montreal for more than a couple of year.

His time in Ottawa colours certainly didn't do much to change their minds, on a team that at one time many thought was bringing back a version of firewagon hockey. Kovalev who once upon a time was considered to be thoroughbred, instead chose to be but a stable horse during his Ottawa stay.

In 131 games in a Senators uniform he brought in but 32 goals and 44 assists, not the kind of production we imagine anticipated when the General Manager brought him into the fold.

As a helpful table for the GM, the Ottawa Sun did the math on the Kovalev years and the ten million dollar deal, working out his goal to dollar ratio as costing the Sens 271 thousand dollars per goal, not the best return on investment that a General Manager has ever taken to ownership we imagine.

For the weary fans, resigned to another non playoff year, his departure and with it but a conditional draft pick as compensation, will only vindicate their original opinion that GM Murray is a tad lost these days in assembling hockey teams.

Indeed the signing of Kovalev, along with some high profile departures over the last few years has provided the true visual of the franchise these days.

If someone was to really wanted to find where the state of the Sens is these last few years, the place to be would be the Ottawa Airport.

A vantage point from which crowd watchers would have noted that there was far too much value at the departure gate and not near enough coming in at the arrivals terminal.

Ottawa Citizen-- Kovalev leaves us frustrated
Ottawa Citizen--Senators deal Kovalev to Pittsburgh for draft pick, claim winger Svatos off waivers
Ottawa Citizen-- Alex Kovalev traded to Pittsburgh

Ottawa Sun-- Kovalev "feels bad" over play for Sens
Ottawa Sun-- Blame Heatley for Kovalev fiasco
Ottawa Sun-- Pens comfortable with Kovalev's presence
Globe and Mail-- Penguins acquire Kovalev from Senators
Globe and Mail-- Senators shed the Kovalev burden 
Hamilton Spectator-- Kovalev gets thumbs-up from Lemieux before trade to Pittsburgh 
CBC-- Senators send Kovalev back to Penguins 
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins trade to bring back Kovalev
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Kovalev says he can still be "that guy" for the Penguins
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Kovalev must score to win over Pens

Picture above from Ottawa Citizen website

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