Entries with the tag: illya kovalchuk
When the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John MacLean back in December, the team had hit rock bottom.
The Devils were last in the entire National Hockey League, not getting production from Illya Kovalchuk, not getting the goaltending they needed to succeed and more importantly, not playing typical Devils’ hockey.
Fast forward a month and half later and the Devils are playing some of their best hockey, this time under “new” head coach Jacques Lemaire. With their strong play of late, the team is now just 12 points back out of a playoff spot. Sure, it may still seem like a long shot but with the way that Lemaire has his team playing, one can certainly not count out the New Jersey Devils.
This is what teams in the NHL are currently finding out when taking on the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils’ may be one of the league’s worst teams record-wise but lately, they have found their game. The team is currently on an imressive 8-1-1 streak and is making life tough for their opponents.
Many hockey pundits and Devils’ fans alike are wondering why they are playing this way now when they should have been doing it all along. In my opinion, here are the reasons why the Devils have gotten their game together:
It was obvious that the Devils’ struggled under first year coach John MacLean. Sure, Lou Lamoriello hurt him with cap space issues due to the Illya Kovalchuk deal and there were also several key injuries (Zach Parise). No matter which way you look at it though, MacLean could not get the team to succeed under him.
In steps Jacques Lemaire to replace MacLean and things changed for the better for the Devils. The team is back to playing a smart defensive system and Lemaire is getting the most out of his players. Sure, he probably will not be able to get the team into the playoffs but he will certainly have his club playing competitive hockey up until the beginning of April.
Over at RLD Hockey today, I take a look back at the trade that sent Illya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils and where both organizations are today.
You can either click here to read it at the site or can continue below.
The Kovalchuk trade: One year later
A year ago today, the Atlanta Thrashers traded star sniper Illya Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela to the New Jersey Devils for Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, and Patrice Cormier. It was easily the biggest blockbuster of last year’s trading season.
Last night was a great example of a perfect road hockey game displayed by the New York Rangers.
They got two quick goals from Artem Anisimov and Alexander Frolov and an insurance goal by Marc Staal in the second period to defeat the Boston Bruins by a score of 3-2. With that said, the win would not have been possible if not for the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist made 35 saves on the night and did everything he could to make sure that his hockey club came out of the game with two points rather than one. This was a game where Lundqvist put it all together and finally had the support in front of him to be able to do so.
For the Blueshirts, it’s two straight tough road wins against formidable opponents and in this league, we all know that every two points matters.
With Illya Kovalchuk’s hearing scheduled for next week, I figured now would be a good time to discuss New Jersey Devils’ hockey with Chris Wassel, host of The Program on Blog Talk Radio, owner The Hockey Program web site and now the New Jersey devils blogger for The Fourth Period.
PH: As a Devils fan, how does this Kovalchuk situation make you feel? Why?
CW: It is like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup….you know the peanut butter is in the middle and much like Kovalchuk…you have to dig past the chocolate to get to the prize. In all seriousness, at least now we know the arbitration is coming and by this time next week, everyone should hopefully know a decision.
PH: As an objective hockey blogger, do you think the NHL did the right thing by rejecting the contract? Why or why not?
CW: With the precedent set, the league dropped the ball so often that they knew they had to do something. However, something tells me based on how Jeff Vanderbeek is reacting, he knows a little bit more information than you or I do at this point. If you allow contracts like Luongo’s or Hossa’s, you have to allow ones like Kovalchuk’s. Do not change the rules until the next CBA. The NHL has some grounds to call for circumvention but New Jersey holds some pretty good precedent. Not to mention, speculation suggests a Kings rep may be asked to testify. It makes you wonder what the Kings offered Kovalchuk. My honest opinion, the league picked the wrong battle.
Good morning folks. The dog days of summer really are here and as such, I want to help keep hockey on your minds.
As such, I would like to get your thoughts on the following questions:
- Will Kovalchuk still end up being a New Jersey Devil? Why or why not?
- Was the NHL right to reject the Kovalchuk contract? Why or why not?
- Does this whole Kovalchuk saga prove that the league could be headed for a lockout in the next few seasons? Why or why not?
- How will the Chicago Blackhawks be next season after losing several key players due to salary cap problems? Why?
- Where will UFA goaltender Marty Turco end up signing? Why? How about UFA netminder Jose Theodore?
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: chicago+blackhawks, illya+kovalchuk, jose+theodore, marty+turco, michael+leighton, new+jersey+devils, nhl, philadelphia+flyers, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning
Many Ranger fans are wondering the same thing that I am: what will GM Glen Sather do next to help make this a better hockey team?
At this point, and may be every other point for that matter, it’s tough to read Sather. Sather will say all the right things to the press and the things he says make sense as he mentions giving the prospects a chance to play and trying to grow the team from within.
With that being said, he does things to the contrary and goes out and signs deals that don’t make too much sense, a.k.a Derek Boogaard. Yes, I know that Boogaard was not signed to put pucks in the net but the amount of money and years for a third/fourth line player do not make sense to me.
One thing all Ranger fans that Sather must do is find a way to get rid of defenseman Wade Redden. Sather needs to admit that he made a mistake and move on whethere that’s finding a way to trade him or even demote him to the Hartford Wolf Pack. If Sather can do that, in their heart, Ranger fans may find a way to forgive him for that.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, erik+christensen, glen+sather, illya+kovalchuk, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, sean+avery, vinny+prospal
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.
Click here for more great stuff from Nicholas.
From good friend of the blog Jim Cerny at Rink Rap:
Just 24 hours prior Thrashers GM Don Waddell had released information that Kovie rejected a pair of mega-deals—-$101 million over 12 years, $70 mill over seven years—-and was opting to head to UFA status this summer. As a result, Waddell announced that Kovie would be traded.
But to whom? And how soon?
Speculation flew around the press room at The Garden as reporters checked in with sources, shared what they had heard, and probably made up a few rumors, as well. I made a note to myself that it just seemed funny there was little to no chatter about the upcoming game at MSG, and Kovie’s name was mentioned a heckuva’ lot more than Ovie’s.
What followed was one wild night, just a great fun night to be a hockey reporter. The Rangers and Caps played an exciting seesaw contest where goals and the power play ruled the day in a 6-5 Washington victory.
Click here for more thoughts on the Kovalchuk deal.
From Steve Zipay at Blue Notes:
So, they’d want a forward and a prospect and a pick, at least. Zherdev? I’d do it.
Dubinsky? Tough call, but yes. Anisimov? Hmm. Not all three. Grachev? No.
But where’s the money coming from? The Rangers have to clear some more space. The $4 mil from Naslund helps, but isn’t enough.
Click here for more.
Obviously, the question that every New York Ranger fan wants to know heading into the NHL’s March 4th trade deadline is what are they going to do?
Will they clear roster spots? Well, I think they will because it appears that since the team will try and claim Sean Avery off re-entry waivers, they will need to clear some cap space. This afternoon, the team sent newly acquired Mark Bell down to it’s farm team, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Will they trade Scott Gomez or Chris Drury? Well, unlike a well known rumor monger, I don’t think they will. General Manager Glen Sather signed these two guys to long-term deals in the summer of 2007 in hopes that they would produce and lead this team to a Stanley Cup. While they haven’t lived up to their billing, I believe that they will get their act together and perform for their new head coach John Tortorella, who expects nothing less.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: chris+drury, chris+pronger, glen+sather, hartford+wolf+pack, illya+kovalchuk, jay+bouwmeester, john+tortorella, mark+bell, new+york+rangers, nigel+dawes, petr+prucha, scott+gomez, sean+avery