by Patrick Hoffman on 04/26/10 at 12:27 PM ET
From great friend of the blog Nicholas Montemagno at The Rangers Tribune:
In 27 games played with the Devils this season, Kovalchuk had just ten goals, in addition to the two he netted in five games played against the Flyers in the quarterfinals. Those are not horrible numbers, obviously, but they are not what we have seen in previous years of his career and they are the only reason why he does not have an atrocious plus/minus rating. His performance in the playoffs this season was below-par, and I think that was the assuring fact that he will not be back with the Devils next season.
This may sound harsh, but Kovalchuk does not give a rat’s tail about the defensive end of the rink. He does not make an effort to backcheck, he does not make an effort to help around by the net, and he is not an option to put on the penalty kill. His only ability is scoring, which he can do quite well, but only when he chooses that he wants to.
People have recently been asking why Kovalchuk did not fit in New Jersey. Well, the Devils, sine their birth, have always been a defense-first team. Kovalchuk does not know how to play a system like that, in fact, he doesn’t know how to play much of any system at all. He is a floater that waits for the puck, and when he gets it, he chooses if he wants to do something with it or not.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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