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To the Thrasher fans is your team better off without Kovalchuk?

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03-28-2010, 02:40 PM
  #1
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To the Thrasher fans is your team better off without Kovalchuk?

I want to start off by saying ever since Kovalchuk came into the league I always thought he was a hot dog and the type of person who only cared about himself like with personal stats and didn't care for his team. For example there was a game last year against the Flyers where he didn't try to stop a breakaway and he just stood there watching it. Plus during the Leafs/Thrashers game on Thursday Greg Millen thought the Thrashers were better off without him because he would always take 1:00 shifts or more, so there was less ice time for other players. Plus I think it was Pierre McGuire who said it was Kovalchuk who talked the team into signing Antropov and Afinogenov, because he would then re-sign himself and he really had no intention of coming back. So to all you Thrashers fans now that he is gone is your team better off without him or do you wish they still had him?

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03-28-2010, 03:01 PM
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Yes, the Thrashers are a better team without him. For example, the PP is much more diverse (rather than trying to setup Kovalchuk at the point), so that it involves the whole unit.

As you've said, the amount of time he stays on the ice is ridiculous (especially when he decides to float around), but the defence thing I could blame on the coaches (I mean he's actually starting to play defence in NJ). Another problem can be pointed at management for not surrounding him with good enough players, but that's another story

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03-28-2010, 03:11 PM
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you'll have a hard time convincing me he didn't care, he sure as hell stuck up for teammates, but he was lazy. without him everyone seems much more willing to play to their own abilities rather than try to play with him on his level. they play as a team now and not as a bunch of guys trying to pass the puck to kovy. many players are playing the best hockey of their careers right now. certainly nobody takes shifts off anymore.

that said one player in particular has been negatively affected by his absence. enstrom looks absolutely lost on the powerplay without kovalchuk there. for two and a half years his job was to be the pivot man between kovalchuk and kozlov. with both of these players now gone he is learning how to play a more typical powerplay and is just painfully hesitant to shoot, often passing up good chances to send it right back to whoever just passed it to him. unfortunately, since bogosian is normally his partner on the powerplay this leaves us with almost no point shots for much of the powerplay(bogisan may be the most inaccurate shooter in history).

as for antropov and afinogenov. reportedly we were the only team that offered afinogenov a contract, so who knows what kovy had to do with him coming here. yes kovalchuk reportedly recruited antropov, but if he was angered by kovy leaving it hasn't shown up in his play. he's only gotten better since he was traded and has really stepped up as a leader. some of us even want him to be our next captain. he and afinogeonv both have seemed much more emotionally involved and have played harder since kovalchuk was traded.

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03-28-2010, 03:59 PM
  #4
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Definately not

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03-28-2010, 04:17 PM
  #5
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How good were the Leafs with Sundin? Fan favorite that couldn't carry the team into the promised land because the talent around him was poor. No, you don't want Burke to waste the cap limits trying to sign him in the off-season.

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03-28-2010, 04:55 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MapleLeafsFan2010 View Post
I want to start off by saying ever since Kovalchuk came into the league I always thought he was a hot dog and the type of person who only cared about himself like with personal stats and didn't care for his team. For example there was a game last year against the Flyers where he didn't try to stop a breakaway and he just stood there watching it. Plus during the Leafs/Thrashers game on Thursday Greg Millen thought the Thrashers were better off without him because he would always take 1:00 shifts or more, so there was less ice time for other players. Plus I think it was Pierre McGuire who said it was Kovalchuk who talked the team into signing Antropov and Afinogenov, because he would then re-sign himself and he really had no intention of coming back. So to all you Thrashers fans now that he is gone is your team better off without him or do you wish they still had him?
I am not here to answer the question but, I want to respond to the bolded part.

I don't know how he was in Atlanta but, in NJ he has said and done all of the right things. He is always talking about the team and how excited he is about these guys and this team. He beat up Avery in his second game as a Devil because he was yapping at Marty. He also gave up an empty net goal last night by passing it up to Rolston because it was his 700th point. Kovy then went to pick up the puck and he gave it to Rolston. He certainly isn't all about the personal stats.

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03-28-2010, 04:59 PM
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Can't say the team is overal better off without him, but the team can succeed without him as evidenced already by their push towards the post-season. The team didn't drop dead...... but it will take an adjustment. Time will tell how long and how well they do.

___
Let me clarify......as this looked to be a Kovy bash fest from the start:

Kovalchuk was named 'Captain' not because he was just the most skilled player on the team, but because the team FED off his game/energy. He was implicitly the pulse of the team for many many seasons (starting i'd say from the Heatley incident in 2003-04). If he was playing well, and he was energized, the team would come out on all cylinders. When he came out flat, the team went along with it. The team rode his highs and sunk with his lows...double-edgee sword. Let me get thsi straight, I'm not saying the team was one man, but rather the team fed through his play game in and game out.

As mentioned by others, a lot of that was due to the rest of the team relying too much on Kovalchuk to 'do something'....... it's not as if there was no team, its just players would find themselves delegating to Kovalchuk by default (like on the PP, for example), regardless if they had a better chance...........(see ENstrom, Kozlov, and many others over the last 4 seasons). For better or for worse, they expected Kovalchuk to generate something and they would find themselves watching instead of participating.

I can't change your opinion of Kovalchuk, but he is pretty much the exact opposite of the selfish, 'me first' player you iterated in your original post above. The backhanded, snide remarks they occasionally say about him on TSN, CBC broadcasts during some of their telecasts are utter bunk.
People seem to be stuck in the year 2000-01 when it comes to Kovalchuk. The stigma from his youth as the 18 year old hotdoggin', fist pumpin' EN goal scorer left a mark in Canadian media forever and it never seem to go away. Thanks to the WJC's... there seems to have an unspoken/defacto media bias against him.

The guy wears his emotions on his sleeve when he plays, if it somehow isn't obvious. The guy is a team player and was always willing to deflect praise, success, and points to teammates. Heck for the last two seasons Thrasher fans were getting frustrated because he wouldn't shoot ENOUGH, he'd look to pass more than shoot oventimes. As Rhodes said, he sure as hell stuck up for his teammates here, before he was captain and when he was captain. He would drop the gloves to get his team rallied up (and the fans), when the team needed a gutcheck, just ask Brian McCabe!

That being said, now that he's gone a lot of players are now expected to be the go to guy, and it's helping their individual and team development....one of the huge reasons this team HASNT fallen flat since he left. Hopefully it continues.

Would I welcome him back on this team? In a snap, you bet.
Will this team survive? Sure as hell it will, just in time as the players adapt to having to do more of the work themselves.


Oh and, Nik Antropov is probably thanking Ilya for helpping him get a sweet 3 year deal here where he has won over entire fanbase because people actually appreciate what type of player he is .


Last edited by Whaddagoal: 03-28-2010 at 05:06 PM.
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03-28-2010, 05:52 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MapleLeafsFan2010 View Post
I want to start off by saying ever since Kovalchuk came into the league I always thought he was a hot dog and the type of person who only cared about himself like with personal stats and didn't care for his team.
I completely disagree with that. Anyone who's watched him the last 5 years knows he cares a lot about his teammates and the team's success. He defended his teammates, he gave up scoring chances and EN goals for his teammates, celebrated more for his teammates' goals than his own, he always talked about the team rather than himself, and so on. He never talked about his personal stats unless someone asked him about it, and then he would just say he didn't care as long as the team was winning.

However, he could still be lazy and irresponsible sometimes - he was never great at defense, he would try to do too much at once, he would try to force things and get sloppy, etc. The latter two seemed to happen when the team was struggling to get anything going and he tried to do it all himself. His issues on defense are partly on him and partly on the coaches (team defense in general has been pretty bad in Atlanta).

I don't think losing someone like Kovy could ever make a team better, but they're playing more like the way they should be playing. Like others have said, players would sit back and wait for Kovy to do something instead of using their own abilities to do it themselves. They deferred to him too much - not only is he a highly skilled superstar, but he was the face of the franchise and had been with the Thrashers far longer than most of his teammates. Since that's not an issue anymore, players are taking on the responsibility and using all the other players on the ice. Their team game has significantly improved, and hopefully it will last.

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03-28-2010, 05:57 PM
  #9
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Originally Posted by Basement Cat View Post
I am not here to answer the question but, I want to respond to the bolded part.

He beat up Avery in his second game as a Devil because he was yapping at Marty.
If Avery sneezed in the general direction of Kovy's teammate he'd use that as an excuse to go at him.

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03-28-2010, 06:02 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robar View Post
If Avery sneezed in the general direction of Kovy's teammate he'd use that as an excuse to go at him.
Lol and I love it! His teammates loved what he did too.

He ****s with avery a lot, it seems.

Look at what he did to Avery in the last game against the Rags. He hits him, skates away a little, fakes that he is going ot hit him again, and then skates away laughing.


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03-28-2010, 06:29 PM
  #11
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I'd love to have him back in Atlanta, but the team around him is not mature enough to play with him. Too many passengers.

And no, he's not a hotdog. Please see Ovechkin and then vomit in nearest trash can.

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03-28-2010, 06:55 PM
  #12
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The team now is better than the December-January Thrashers when Kovy was phoning it in.

The team is not as good as the October Thrashers when Kovy came out firing on all cylinders.

The team seems less dysfunctional without him, but the powerplay is nearly impotent now too.

They got a good return for him, but in the long run letting a franchise player leave is not good.

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03-28-2010, 08:16 PM
  #13
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Background: (feel free to just skip to the answer, or skip this post entirely, if you like!)
For the first couple of years of his career, I absolutely despised Kovalchuk; he was the "Ice Fairy" to me. I was a Heater, then Hossa fan. Dipsey-doodle at the blue line, give up the puck and fall to try and draw penalty; that was the Kovalchuk recipe at even strength for years. Sure he could score 50 goals and was absolutely boss on the PP, but I still thought of him as a selfish kid.

Bob Hartley took that selfish kid and showed him the other side of the ice. Under Hi-Bob, Kovalchuk became a markedly improved defensive player. Don't confuse that with me saying he became a good defensively player, because he most certainly was not that at the time,, but it doe mean that if he turned the puck over on a PP that he would break up the counter 3 out of 5 times.

Then Hartley got fired and the whole organization seemed to give up; every except Kovy. From that point on, the Kovalchuk was the Thrashers, literally. He carried the offensive load, assumed control of the dressing room, became more willing to do interviews and speak in public, and embraced being the face of the franchise. He's always been a genuinely nice guy to the fans, always. Even when he couldn't speak English.

Watching Kovalchuk mature has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had as a fan. Seeing him go from a diving, whining, *****, to "The Point", to standing up for his teammates (and punching the **** out of Avery in the POs), to being the absolute best I've every had the pleasure of watching after being made Keptain last year. Looking back on it, Kovy was a wonderful player for ATL. He's not the most consistent individual, but when everything is going, he can do EVERYTHING exceptionally well.

Answer
I think both parties will be better off having split. Atlanta failed to build around Kovalchuk. They had 8 seasons and managed 4 playoff games with him. Its time to for a complete changing of the guard (this will be complete when Kozlov is allowed to walk this summer).

Why? Well, the Thrashers gameplan has always been: pass to Kovy, he shoots, puck goes the other way. Rinse and repeat. And when that's the plan for 1/3 of the game, its pretty easy to scout. Its not particularly anyone's fault, all four coaches Kovy has played under(d-wad and McCrimmon are being counted together, since neither are worth considering full coaches) had this happen. Its inevitable when a player of Kovalchuk's is playing with the Niko Kapenens and Patrick Stefans of the world.

This article does a pretty good job of explaining it: http://yankeewhistles.blogspot.com/2010/03/thr.html

Not having the luxury of a player who can win games by himself will force this pretty young team to work together or fall apart, and I think it has proper veteran support to come together with this crop of players.

Kovalchuk will obviously benefit from the split by being able to choose a team that will, presumably, fit him and his goals well.

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03-28-2010, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basement Cat View Post
Lol and I love it! His teammates loved what he did too.

He ****s with avery a lot, it seems.

Look at what he did to Avery in the last game against the Rags. He hits him, skates away a little, fakes that he is going ot hit him again, and then skates away laughing.


That's funny as hell. I'm kind of hoping Kovalchuk signs with the Devils just so he can beat the **** out of Avery more frequently.

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03-28-2010, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basement Cat View Post
I am not here to answer the question but, I want to respond to the bolded part.

I don't know how he was in Atlanta but, in NJ he has said and done all of the right things. He is always talking about the team and how excited he is about these guys and this team. He beat up Avery in his second game as a Devil because he was yapping at Marty. He also gave up an empty net goal last night by passing it up to Rolston because it was his 700th point. Kovy then went to pick up the puck and he gave it to Rolston. He certainly isn't all about the personal stats.
that's pretty much how he was here too. though to be honest he ****ing hates avery, that probably had little to do with anything avery said.

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03-28-2010, 08:52 PM
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I just wanted to say it was not Pierre McGuire who said that Kovalchuk forced the Thrashers to sign Antropov, those comments were said by Bill Watters just after he was traded to New Jersey.

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03-28-2010, 09:04 PM
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that's pretty much how he was here too. though to be honest he ****ing hates avery, that probably had little to do with anything avery said.
I understand dude and I know that he said all of the right things here but, idk, the Devils are not the Thrashers. If he seriously cares about winning, he'll resign. They make the playoffs every year.

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03-28-2010, 09:09 PM
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I understand dude and I know that he said all of the right things here but, idk, the Devils are not the Thrashers. If he seriously cares about winning, he'll resign. They make the playoffs every year.
Our time will come

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03-28-2010, 09:12 PM
  #19
Peter Sidorkiewicz
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I'd love to have him back in Atlanta, but the team around him is not mature enough to play with him. Too many passengers.

And no, he's not a hotdog. Please see Ovechkin and then vomit in nearest trash can.
I agree with this and its comes down to coaching.

The team was struggling in December/January because it was too focused on Kovy to lead the offense. Coaches need to get it clear that not everything has to go through Kovalchuk. Perfect example is Antropov and Enstrom trying to feed kovalchuk all the time when they should of shot instead. Another good example is how New jersey is using Kovalchuk on the power play. Same position as Atlanta (on the point) but there is more of an emphasis for Kovy to set up a shot on half boards for his team than to slapshot all time from the point which was happening all the time in Atlanta.

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03-28-2010, 10:55 PM
  #20
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Originally Posted by Basement Cat View Post
I understand dude and I know that he said all of the right things here but, idk, the Devils are not the Thrashers. If he seriously cares about winning, he'll resign. They make the playoffs every year.
I feel you are going to be in for a big shock come July first...

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03-29-2010, 07:17 AM
  #21
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It's all about the asking price. I know he has said all the right things about his time here since leaving, but I still can't get over the fact that he wouldn't budge from $11.3 a year. That's insane.

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03-29-2010, 10:32 AM
  #22
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Better or worse isn't really the issue. A case could be made in either direction. But the team is different, that is a very important thing for the other 22 guys. It's all been said above, but this is no longer the Ilya show and that's important. 23 guys play for each other now and not for 1 other guy.

I don't wish him ill, I hope he gets his name on the Cup. It was time for both parties to move on to better things.

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03-29-2010, 03:08 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basement Cat View Post
I understand dude and I know that he said all of the right things here but, idk, the Devils are not the Thrashers. If he seriously cares about winning, he'll resign. They make the playoffs every year.
i didn't mean that as a he won't re-sign in jersey statement. i honestly think that if you scratch out the 6 canadian teams and the rangers(because of avery) the remaining 23 teams, including the thrashers and devils, all have an equal shot at getting him if they offer what he feels he's worth. unfortunately as of now he seems to think he's worth 11.3 million.

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03-29-2010, 03:26 PM
  #24
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And you can scratch out even more markets. Kovy has said he wants to play somewhere he and his family will be left alone. I think you can then count out places like LA, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Philly, Pittsburgh. He's also not going to play for Lindy Ruff, so there goes Buffalo.

Really, I think NJD is a good fit for Kovy. A big market with appreciative fans that leave their players alone due to proximity to NYR. Dallas & St Louis would also be good fits for him.

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03-30-2010, 12:51 AM
  #25
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It's tough seeing "the future" leave in one year. Kari and Kovy were supposed to be the two big fish around here for a long time.

The team seems to be moving on well, and so are they. Kari has been disgustingly good for a Dallas team that is playing no defense at all (other than his first start of the year against Pitt). Kovy has been good for NJ as well it'll be interesting to see his salary saga play out this off season.

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