Today on Puck Daddy, there was an interesting article (or PR piece, depending on how you read it) on Ilya Kovalchuk's worth to a franchise and as a player. I'm not going to nitpick the article, but I do have misgivings on the Blues constantly being named as a contender for Kovalchuk's services. As a fan of Kovy's former team, as well as a fan of his supposed future one, I have a fairly unique standpoint to look at this situation from. Kovy might be just another in a long line of players to come to St. Louis and fall in love with the city. But should the fans want him to make the Gateway to the West his home? 9M8V2NTS6CU9
So, Walt, I hear the dentists in St. Louis are pretty good, yeah?
I just can't get behind it.
It would be exciting, yes. It’d be awesome to see the Blues land the biggest player they’ve gotten since Gretzky, and I want the team to get all the publicity in the world – heck, maybe if we got Kovy we’d actually have the REAL team in an ad for NHL Ice Time.
And then there’s the reality of having Ilya Kovalchuk on your team. I’m not going to lie, he’s really amazingly exciting to watch. He gets the puck and the whole arena scoots to the edge of their seats. He has his moments of leadership, like when he beat the hell out of Brian McCabe when he wouldn’t stop pestering the Thrashers’ players. And God, he can score. But there’s a flip side. He has no idea how to play defense – don’t let this past season’s numbers fool you. He was playing in front of a much improved Thrasher defense and then an excellent Devils one. And yet he still managed to be barely over even. He scores 40 goals a season, and is something like a career -81. He floats around the defensive zone, waiting for someone to feed him the puck so he can zip up the middle, but he never attempts to get the puck himself. He’s watched people run our rookies (most notably, Tobias Enstrom when a Hab tried to break his neck into the boards) every single year, and very rarely does anything about it.
The only time he fights, the only time he gets frustrated, is when he’s upset with his play. Then he takes the whole team on his shoulders and tries to do everything himself, which leads to turnovers and stupid play. He then breaks his stick over the goal and says nothing of concequence to the media afterward. He got booed off of the ice his last game here.
He’s fun to watch, exciting to have on your team, but he is NOT a franchise cornerstone. He's not our next Brett Hull. He’s a pleasant accessory that needs to be properly utilized. I don’t want to see him get priority over our young guys who need to develop correctly. I’d place acquiring a solid starting goaltender waaaay higher on the importance list over Kovalchuk. 9M8V2NTS6CU9