Monday, November 3, 2008

What REALLY happened when Kovalchuk left the bench for ten minutes?

Early in the game last evening, Big Shooter leaned over and asked me if I'd noticed Ilya Kovalchuk, reportedly a fine hockey player, anywhere on the ice. I said no.

Neither of us was sure if he was literally not playing all of a sudden or if he was just that unnoticeable.

Mike Knobler reports the following:

The Thrashers’ biggest star hadn’t seemed himself through the team’s first 11 games, and then he literally disappeared from the ice and the bench in the early going against Florida.

Pulled muscle, his coach said. Skate needed sharpening, Kovalchuk said.

Whatever it was, consider it fixed. For two and a half periods it was just Kovy being Kovy, as he scored two goals and assisted on another in a 5-3 victory at Philips Arena.

Hmmm. So what's the deal? Did Kovy really have a pulled muscle/skate problem, or was John Anderson telling him to take a hike for a few minutes to light a fire, etc. etc., and spur him into scoring? I'm already convinced that the real reason Anderson benched Erik Christensen during the game against New Jersey was to jostle him awake and force him to score in the next game. Much like Ron Wilson benching Jeremy Roenick last season during Game 6 of the Sharks' playoff series against the Flames, then bringing him back in Game 7, in which a re-invigorated JR scored the game-tying and game-winning goals, and assisted on a few others.

If that is the case, it worked. Kovy and Crusher got exiled (even if, in Kovy's case, it was a brief exile) and they came back red-hot. That John Anderson must know something about the Hockey.

UPDATE: Reliable sources in the comments say that Kovy looked to be in pain. No Ron Wilson hijinks then; the dude really did have a pulled muscle.


Anonymous said...

I sit right behind the bench and Kovy came off the ice in obvious pain early in the period. I couldn't determine exactly where the pain was, but he was gone for about 10 minutes before returning. Moments after he returned, one of the Thrasher docs came out of the dressing room and talked briefly with the trainer, who passed the message to the training staff. Couldn't hear what the problem was, but we need to determine exactly what happened...and do it again.


Mortimer Peacock said...

Ah, well it's settled then. He really did have a hurt something or other.