Kovalev , are you happy ?
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03-03-2004, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Okay, here are my thoughts after that press conference:
(LMAO when the reporter asked him to do the math on how much the Habs would owe for Kovalev. *somewhat annoyed look* "Take out a pen..." Nice, Bob. Nice!)
I think there are two things that bother me about this trade:
1. The Rental Lie. Was it two weeks ago he said he wasn't interested in rental players? Now, I'm not saying this is all his doing, as I wouldn't be in the least surprised if ownership hadn't come up to him and hamstrung him to get the team deeper into the playoffs to make more money. I'm not commenting on the trade itself here, only that (as we witnessed during the conference when he backpedalled with the 'we rent everyone, don't we' comment) we got a rental when we said it wasn't in the cards.
Now, situations change, of course, and the fact we're a team that's actually going places - other than the cellar - is obviously reason for hope. However, there's still that sticking point of 'rental'.
2. Money. Oh sure, we're taking on a little bit of salary for the end of the season, but in the end, this trade seems to have been made with the intention of getting us deeper into the playoffs (perhaps as a team with home ice advantage?) and therefore closer to the nirvana point of the third round where it breaks even (according to Boivin). Does this make us Cup contenders? We'd be kidding ourselves if we thought that. While it is a vote of confidence for the players, it's equally a vote of money, I feel. Management gets a bonified offensive talent to help take the team further into the playoff - best of both worlds. Unfortunately, there's a price, and that's the mild depletion of talent in the cupboard.
As to the trade itself, here's what I think:
We have Kastitsyn, Perezhogin, Higgins, and many others on the farm, all of whom are significantly talented players. Balej is a middling size player with good offensive upside but who doesn't have quite the size Bob is looking for, I think. Losing him, while unfortunate, isn't necessarily the end of the world - I think we've got better talent still in the pipeline. Plus, there was never going to be enough room for all the kids.
Assuming Kovalev doesn't sign, then what remains is a pick for a pick. 2nd for compensatory, and the c-pick is probably going to be higher than the Habs original pick. Ergo, you can quash that part of the trade entirely.
So, rental for Balej. It's a tough call, for sure. You hate to give up on kids, especially for a rent-a-player, when you aren't making a serious Cup run, however this will certainly give us offensive jump and may very well get us further in the playoffs than we'd have done originally. We have the rights to Kovalev, though, which gives us first crack at signing him if and when the occasion presents itself. I doubt very highly that his price tag will be anything close to the $6.6 he made this year, considering his numbers. I'd guess more in the $4-4.5 range, myself. And with Yanic and possibly Juneau gone, that already makes up the salary differential.
I guess, short-term, I'm pleased. It'll make the rest of the year more interesting absolutely.
Long-term I've of two minds. We lost a kid, but we gained something that may just be worth more - credibility within the league. Montreal is a buyer and not a seller now, and this sends a clear message out there to players. It also sends a very clear message to the fans that we're on the upswing, in a big way. Like the confidence shown the coaches and players (think Breezer) this is a *statement* move by Gainey.
Overall? I think you can put me 'this' side of happy. I like Balej, but hopefully when all is said and done, the intangibles around this deal will put it over the top in a positive way.
Just my thoughts...
A Concerned Fan
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