Fillipponi: Please Don’t Play Kovalev
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By Andrew Fillipponi
I’m begging you Dan Bylsma. Can you do me a solid and put Alex Kovalev in the press box for Game 7?
He’s the bane of my existence. Alex Kovalev stinks.
I don’t think he should be allowed to play in game seven. For starters, at 38 years old, the game starts past his bedtime. Kovy can’t get his old bones moving at 8 o’clock. More importantly, what has he done for this team? After a game one goal, Kovalev has returned to his roots, Siberia. I swear he must be hiding there. The only times I see him are when he commits a silly penalty. And those have been plentiful. He’s up to five minor penalties in this series.
What can’t Kovalev do? He’s not aggressive on the forecheck. He won’t supply back pressure and create a turnover. He hasn’t shown a blistering slap shot or booming one timer. He looks spent. He won’t shoot. This guy was brought here to score goals. Not to be a team motivator. Or guiding light. He’s not Tony Robbins. I can’t drop him down and play him on the third or fourth line. The closest Kovalev gets to supplying energy to the Penguins is when he hands one of his teammates a bottle of Gatorade.
I’m Dan Bylsma, I tell Alex Kovalev to go watch the action in Mario’s box. I’m putting Eric Tangradi in. Kovalev was a bad idea from the beginning. He gives questionable effort on a team that’s become all about effort in the absence of star scorers. Pittsburgh traded to get him for sentimental reasons. It’s like when you hire a relative for job over someone who is more qualified. This trade was Penguins nepotism. Rescue a former player and friend of the organization from a bad situation in Ottawa.
If I’m going to go down tomorrow to Tampa Bay, I want to do it with players who I know are going to lay it out on the line and give me everything they have. It’s going to be a fit of rage.
I’ve had it with Alex Kovalev. I never wanted him in the first place. I think that’s the adjustment the Pens have to make for game seven. Get him out of the lineup.