So, first of all, you should know that something big is in the works here, involving lots of numbers. Maybe not so big in terms of importance, but it's involving lots of arithmetic on my part. So stay tuned for that. But for now:
I'm putting a kibosh on complaining about lines, on account of we don't so much use lines anymore. Also, Avery's getting the ice time he deserves (13:57 tonight), and I like that. Some good games over break, tonight was not so good. But props go to Avery, who has been playing good hockey. I didn't name my dog after him (I don't own a dog), but this girl did:
Kevin DeLury of New York Rangers Blog is running a big campaign to write him in as an All-Star, which I strongly suggest you participating in. Go vote here or text "Sean Avery" to 81812. Anyway, I only bring it up because of Avery's response to it: "That's great. I will hopefully make the team, and I'll be the first player ever to get an instigator penalty at an NHL All-Star game. That'll be amazing, right?" I love this guy.
Credit also goes out to Brandon Dubinsky, who played a good game tonight, and to Michal Rozsival, who I think has looked in his couple of games back as good as he's looked in two seasons. I'm really glad to have him back.
That's all for Ranger talk tonight, so I wanna make a quick joke about how every time they say Preds goalie Pekka Rinne's full name, it sounds like something Vinnie Barbarino would call a classmate, and then it's time for another edition of Kovalwatch!!!! How have things been since we checked in with the most anticipated off-season athlete signing since 2010's LeBron James? Well, first of all, the Devils still find themselves just above the Oilers and Islanders, not quite at the bottom of the league (although if Edmonton and Long Island win their games-in-hand, Jersey finds themselves back in that #30 spot). At 8-14-2, the Devils are on pace to finish the season with 61.5 points, good enough for the bottom 3 spots in the league every season since the lockout. Hell, 61.5 would put the Devils in the 24th spot back in 1998-'99, the final season that games couldn't be worth 3 points, and there were only 27 teams.
Meanwhile, Ilya himself, whose contract, for those of you who are missing the point, is still 15 years for $100 million, is looking at 4-6-10, putting him on pace to finish the season with 18.2 goals and 27.3 assists. Other players with 4 goals and 6 assists? Blackhawks Jake Dowell ($1.05m/2yr) and Bryan Bickell ($1.625m/3yr), Tampa Bay's Sean Bergenheim ($0.7m/1yr), and Penguin Tyler Kennedy ($1.45m/2yr), among others. The only one whose contract comes anywhere near Kovalchuk's on the list is Zdeno Chara, who is tied for 7th in the league with a +12 rating. Ilya's rating? An abysmal -11.
Minus goddamn eleven. On pace to be worse than -50 for the season. This would be the worst +/- in the NHL since at least 1997-'98. The worst since then has been Rico Fata's -46 in 2003-'04, but NHL.com does not have this data prior to '97-'98. So, quite possibly the worst in a good deal longer than that. Just a total detriment to his team. On pace for 45.6 points and -50.1. At $6.67 million. And this is his prime, no less.
See, guys? Even when you lose to the Penguins, there's always the Devils to look at. Things could be worse.