Kovalev A center
View Single Post
06-04-2006, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by
Can you be more specific?
I believe Kovalev's offensive game is based on drifting in and out of the play. He isn't assertive in establishing himself in the offensive zone. This isn't a bad characteristic, but it's more a trait of snipers and dynamic offensive players: he'll float into an open area, find an open passing lane to be an option for his team's puck carrier, and then only once he has the puck will he establish himself in the offensive zone.
At this point he'll dipsy-doodle until either he, or a linemate has broken the defensive coverage--or created enough of a gap to exploit--and he'll pounce on the opportunity.
It's a very patient approach, and he'll work off the sideboards the majority of the time.
A centerman's obligation is to skate up the center of the ice hard on the breakout to give the winger (or defenseman) along the boards towards the blueline a quick passing lane. At that point the center will either skate with the puck into the opposition's zone, pass to another winger and continue skating into the opposition's zone, or dump the puck in. In any of these three options, the center needs to skate hard--in Montreal's skating system.
This would hinder Kovalev's game in two ways:
1) it would force him to skate at full speed more than (I think) he's comfortable doing. He plays the game at his pace. That's OK and perfectly fine for a winger, but not for a center. His skating ability is used more for his mobility than straight ahead speed, and used as a means to intimidate as he can weave his way through the opposition with the puck.
2) it would force Kovalev to be the key component to his line's breakout, thus forcing him to be assertive on each play and serve as a detriment to his patient game where he wants to drift out of the play altogether.
Often times when Kovalev's being shadowed or given too much attention, he'll move way out of position in order to open up a passing lane. He couldn't do this as a center.
In short: a centerman's obligation to be assertive would be counter-intuitive to his offensive approach, in my opinion.
But it would still be an interesting experiment.
View Public Profile
Find More Posts by Mike8