Fillipponi: Please Don’t Play Kovalev

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.

More from Andrew Fillipponi
  • LOU

    This trade was a reach , I thought he may bring value on the power play but this guy has seen his time pass in the NHL , maybe he can hook up with Jagr in russia next year but he doesn’t deserve a spot on a NHL roster

  • Jan Hrdina

    Agreed. But the overall team defense has been putrid. They all look lost out there. And Fleury has not even come close to playing like an all-star. Benching Kovy would make sense, if he was the only problem. Doing it now would only cause panic on a team that lacks any confidence.

  • Uncle Geno

    Kovalev looked great… the first game after the trade. Since he has been like digesting 3 week old borscht.

  • Lee

    I have to agree with this article. Kovalev has not brought anything to this team. It’s o.k. if your not scoring if your doing all of the other things – forechecking, backchecking, being a playmaker and most of all working hard. He has not done any of this and I don’t plan on this changing for game 7. Younger legs in the lineup that are willing to do anything to win would bring more to this team right now.

  • Harry Boards

    They should bench Kovy and dress Crosby just to get the fans fired up. Announce that he’s foing to play on the power play and see how many chances we get, maybe throw him out there on the point for a minute or two.
    Fans go Crazy!

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