For the love of all that is holy, please don't compare their stats from last season. I'd hate to see that broken down into detailed statistical analysis. I love Kovy. I love Hossa. But I don't wanna see those stats.
Kovalev is actually playing up to his skill level this season, thats the difference between this season and all those previous years. Hossa is probably still better, but like Beaker just mentioned why should we settle for 1 impact player when we can have more?
Let's not kid ourselves, the only knock on Hossa, and granted it's a pretty major one, is that he can't elevate his game in playoffs. That said, he's had two fairly successful campaigns in 01-02 and 02-03 but I think we'd have to admit that since then hasn't really produced at an acceptable level.
I think you can mount a semi-legitimate case for Hossa though. Not that he was playing as well as he could have, but Ottawa wasn't really built for success in the playoffs. They weren't strong down the middle, weren't gritty enough, and most importantly weren't getting good goaltending. (This is the era of Yashin, Bonk etc...) There was a game in 02-03 I think where Hossa got 10 shots on Belfour, he was everywhere but just couldn't get it to go in.
Actually I think there was an Ottawa fan who summed it up pretty well when talking about Healtey vs. Hossa in the playoffs. He said something along the lines of Heatley will be invisible the entire game, but then you look at the stats sheet and he's got 1G 1A 5SH and +1. Hossa will be everywhere doing everything, but would end up no points and -1.
Still, I would expect he's ready to prove himself this year and it's never too late to shake that "playoff chocker" tag. Thornton, Alfredsson and Datsyuk are just three of the most recent ones to do it. Alfredsson went from being a questionable leader to playoff warrior in one year.
Other than that, Hossa does everything well, PK, PP, ES, defensive zone coverage, puck handling, speed, positioning etc...he can do everything at a high level. For the past 5 seasons he's been an elite player (I'm pretty sure he's been top 7ish in winger scoring for the past 5 seasons...this year being the aberration), and especially post lock-out, he's established himself as a top 10 winger in this league. Just a notch below the Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Iginla, group imo.