Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? (AKA The Story of L'Enigma) UPDATED


That is the big question in Ottawa right now. And since you provided such excellent feedback the last time we created a debate, I thought we'd try and bring you all out of hiding again.

Alex Kovalev; 6'1 215lbs and 37 years old from Togliatti Russia. He signed a 2 year 10 million dollar contract on July 6th 2009.

And to be honest, we knew what we were getting. While the Montreal fans called him L'Artiste for having some of the most spectacular hands in the game, the buzz word that came with the Kovy signing wasn't "skill" or "dangles".

It was "enigma"

For those of you not familiar with the word it means "to describe something or someone as an enigma, you mean they are mysterious or difficult to understand". The reason this was used by analysts, columnists and bloggers alike was because some nights Kovy can be the best player on the ice, and some nights he can be invisible. There is no rhyme or reason for it.

Or is there? Let's have a closer look at the first season of AK27 in a Sens uniform.

In 72 games this year Alex has 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists), good for third on the team. However lets look at how these stats break down.

October 12415-5100100017.235
November 9066320200014.000
December 1738116121100138.079
January 15710172180400247.149
February 7358142200118.167
March 12000-1080000021.000

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Now, looking at these stats, let us look at it in portions. The first twelve games of the season, the Sens went 6-3-3 (fancy way of saying 6-6), and they amassed 37 goals, about 3 per game. Of these, stats-wise Kovy contributed to 14%. This can maybe be written off perhaps as a new player learning a new system.

After putting up semi-respectable numbers in November and December, on the 3rd of January, in a wild 7-4 win against the Flyers in which he scored 4 goals and 1 assist", Kovy dropped this line on the fans

"I had an injury. I couldn't even shoot right. I tried to pass, in general. But lately I have started feeling more or less better." Puck Daddy

That was the beginning of January. From that point to the end of the Olympic break, Alex put up 25 points in 22 games. Better than a point a game over the same stretch that his linemate Mike Fisher put up only 5 goals! Keep in mind most of this is done on the second line! Not bad for a 37 year old.

Add this in to the fact that Kovalev sat out the game on Friday in Buffalo, and a strong case begins to be made that Alex Kovalev is hurt, and has been playing hurt for most of the post-olympic break.

He is not a young man anymore. An injury at his age would make (and evidently in the early part of the year DID make) a huge difference. This doesn't mean he is without fault. He should be sitting out and resting for the playoffs if he is hurt.

One thing that Sens fans, especially those calling for him to be sent to the minors (seriously?), don't seem to realize is this last bit of information:

In wins 3816213725223800493.172
In losses 341910-28320200062.016
Losing N/A41216N/A2413000N/AN/A
Tied N/A81422N/A1415003N/AN/A
Clutch N/A325N/A410001N/AN/A
Blowouts N/A112N/A001000N/AN/A
Last 5 Min N/A4711N/A1822001N/AN/A

What this says to me is that we NEED Kovalev. When he is on (37 points) we win. When he isn't (10 points) we lose. And when those games in the postseason are tight, 81% of his points have come when we are losing or tied.
I'm not trying to make an excuses for Alex

I'm just trying to explain The Enigma.

What do you guys think?


Canucnik said...

Good work!

The Olympic Break, Kovy's wife wants to be in Montreal, the kids want to be on vacation but are not, Alexei wants to be on the Golf's the conflicted life of an older Pro Hockey player, things are different at 37 years of age, you are not supposed to be playing anymore...and it showed after the break!

Guys, the "Diversion" will be there in the playoffs and we shall be very glad to have him!

tim said...

I agree, and I also think that the same could be said for Kuba. He is great when not hurt, but has been hurt a lot.

Young said...

Interesting, I hadn't thought of Kuba that way.

Maybe because I am never sure why he is hurt. I mean, what is wrong with him right now?

Canucnik said...

tim, I agree with Young, Kuba, the lightest 230 lbs D-man to ever play in the league, "groined out" or not, is not the guy I want to go to war with in the playoffs.

Note: I projected this out of training camp when he reported hurt and tried to cover it up! He (#17) was a nice reguler season pick up last year when #21 was murdering our young Defencemen...30...END of story!