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03-03-2004, 03:26 PM
Joe Malone
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mabou....Wawa
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by Guy!
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.
What's wrong with the team trying to make some money, and break even on the year, if indeed that is the only reason they got Kovalev? (I don't think it is.) With the books balanced though, there will be cash available to resign Kovalev.

Two weeks ago Gainey said we weren't looking for a rental. But two weeks ago we were in the middle of a 4-game losing streak, and in danger of missing the playoffs. Today we are closer to first place than ninth, so the dynamics have certainly changed. Gainey may be an astute manager willing to act upon the team's improved chances, as much as the liar you proclaim him to be. The rental statement is a non-issue to me. A GM must take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, especially if it's just for a mild depletion of the cupboard.

We are into arguably the toughest stretch of the schedule, (9 games in 15 nights) without Souray and Bulis, and how have the Habs responded? With victories over teams like Ottawa, Boston and the Devils. They are working Julien's system, with success. Gainey sees this, sees we are going to make the playoffs, and gets a very highly skilled player to meet one of our needs: size and scoring up front. The east is wide open, and we have just as much chance as anyone of getting into the third round. Gainey just bettered the odds with the addition of Kovalev, without sacrificing the future.

There is one other extremely important advantage of going into the third round of the playoffs. We have many players who have never been in the NHL playoffs, let alone gone deep into the 2nd season. They have never gained the invaluable experience of a lengthy playoff run. If Kovalev can help us make the third round, players like Ribeiro, Ryder, Dagenais, Ward, Begin, Boullion and Komisarek will have grown immensely for the seasons to come. Those seven players have combined for zero playoff games in their careers. Bulis has 6 post-season games under his belt, with Souray at 17, Rivet 22, Zednik 26 and Koivu 29. Juneau and Kovalev are now our most experienced playoff performers.

Kovalev may turn out to be a short term investment. But if we do indeed make the third round, not only will the books balance, the rookies will be much better prepared for future playoff battles. Consider the experience gained a return on the investment.

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