I’m not going to lie to you. One of the reasons why I’m bothering to write this article is so I can re-use this fantastic reader submitted PhotoShop of The Men Who Stare At Scapegoats. It’s incredible.
Anyways, at practice this morning, Alexei Kovalev skated on the fourth line with Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester. Ryan Shannon, who scored the first goal against the Capitals on Sunday, has been rewarded for his efforts and will now skate on Ottawa’s first line with Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza. If you’ll remember back to Sunday’s broadcast, there was an instance when Denis Potvin mentioned that Bryan Murray was singing the praises of Shannon and indicated that he’d like to see Shannon playing a bit more. Mind you, if you mentally checkout whenever Potvin is speaking, I can’t really fault you for that either.
It will be interesting to see how Cory Clouston handles Kovalev’s ice-time this second time around. As poor as Kovalev’s work ethic has been this year, the organization is in a precarious position – they need Kovalev to produce and build his trade value. Aside from a meeting with Murray following his initial demotion in ice-time, he’s a mercenary whose actions haven’t exactly elicited impressions that he actually gives a shit out on the ice. As an aside, has there ever been another player in the history of the game who has scored 1,000 points who has less fans than Kovalev? Hell, he even spurned Montreal, the only city that seemed to become romanticized by his talents, to pursue more money and a longer term.
So what is Clouston to do? Will this be another situation in which Kovalev immediately gets bumped back up to the top line after one shift? Or does he send a message to Kovalev by burying him on the fourth line permanently? Does this situation degenerate to the point where the organization simply tells Kovalev to go home?