More Brennan On Kovalev Fodder

With training camp just around the coner, Bryan Murray used on opportunity on Tuesday to hold court and field some media questions in regards to the Senators.  (Ed. note: I transcribed this session here.) At one point during the media scrum, the topic of Alexei Kovalev was broached. Here’s what Murray had to say:

“I expect he’s a good player. I believe that he’s a good player. I thought he was a good player most of the time last year. I think that we look at Alex in maybe a different light than we should sometimes. He has a high level of skill. I think that we look at him as a guy who can take the puck and do whatever he wants when he wants to. The NHL is not that way. I thought that he played well most of the time for us in that the plays more of a complimentary role now. He helps other players play better hockey around than may maybe they ever have in the past. I think that there were some productive players because of him. We missed him a great deal in the playoffs. Him alone in that Pittsburgh series could have made a huge difference for us. I’m excited. I know he’s happy. I know he loves playing here. I think playing with a couple of players that he played with last year in particular, he’s really excited to see how they progress moving forward. I expect he’ll be good.”

At first glance, it looks like Murray’s using a lot of lip service. Superficial jargon that shouldn’t be analyzed or read too much into. (But that didn’t stop Brennan from trying.)

Fast forward to today when I was browsing through Ottawa Sun and came across this Don Brennan article featuring this quote:

We’ve seen what he can still do when he wants. The magic he can still perform with puck and stick. And even though he’s 37 (the same age as Alfredsson) he should still be able to abracadabra his way to an 80-point season. He’s also a big, strong man, and it’s not like he has slowed. At least not when he’s going forward.

Hold on, that looks familiar. Where have I seen that before?

“I expect he’s a good player. I believe that he’s a good player. I thought he was a good player most of the time last year. I think that we look at Alex in maybe a different light than we should sometimes. He has a high level of skill. I think that we look at him as a guy who can take the puck and do whatever he wants when he wants to. The NHL is not that way. I thought that he played well most of the time for us in that the plays more of a complimentary role now. He helps other players play better hockey around than may maybe they ever have in the past. I think that there were some productive players because of him. We missed him a great deal in the playoffs. Him alone in that Pittsburgh series could have made a huge difference for us. I’m excited. I know he’s happy. I know he loves playing here. I think playing with a couple of players that he played with last year in particular, he’s really excited to see how they progress moving forward. I expect he’ll be good.”

Holy shit! Bryan Murray was forewarning us to not think like Don Brennan! It’s like he looked into the future and knew Brennan would write something like this. If only he could use this power for good… he never would have made that Campoli/Comrie trade. At least now, I’ll have something to say whenever Don Brennan says something that I disagree with. Let me try it out, ahem, listen Don, Kovalev can’t abracadabra his way to an 80-point season. The NHL is not that way. With the way that Don carries on about Kovalev’s stickhandling, you would think that he’s a member of the NHL version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Maybe if Eugene Melnyk could set up some games against the Washington Generals so that Kovalev can impress and get to that illustrious 80-point threshold that Brennan believes he is capable of. Hell, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton could barely carry Dany Heatley to an 80-point campaign.

Looking back at Kovalev’s career, he’s only managed to post more than 80-points twice — 2000/01 and 2007/08. Considering that he’s a veteran coming off ACL surgery who has been in the league since 1992, I don’t think the odds of Kovalev posting an 80-point season are very good. Fortunately, Don has taken upon himself to let everyone know when Kovalev is playing like shit this season.

Therein lies the irony in the SPB air last season. The boobirds gave it to Jason Spezza, one of the team’s very best players the last five years, for failing with creative attempts. Not for his lack of effort. But did anybody really get on Kovalev for not trying?

Kovalev wasn’t always a dog, just much of the time when he was gliding toward the Senators zone. If he played in Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus or Florida, fans might not have noticed. In Ottawa, they certainly did.

But then, local columnists were guilty of not calling out Kovalev last season, too. This one was probably caught up in the mystique that surrounded the teammate Nick Foligno referred to as “the most interesting man in the world.” Consider this an apology. It won’t happen again.

The most interesting man in the world? Did Don even bother to ask Nick Foligno whether dolphins appear whenever Kovalev goes for a swim?

Good thing it’s still late in the summer and training camp isn’t yet upon us. With lines like, Yeah, Kovalev was consistent, too. Consistently brutal. Don’s already demonstrated that he’s nowhere near on top of his game.

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