Call Him What You Want, Kovalev Brings Valuable Experience

Whether you refer to him as “Alex” or “Alexei,” Kovalev has certainly made a name for himself within the NHL over his 18 year career. Between multiple stints with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens, Kovalev’s most recent bounce landed him in Sunrise by way of Ottawa. It’s possible that suiting up for the Florida Panthers might be the last hoorah for the 6’1″ winger, who has hit and/or surpassed the 20 goal mark in 12 different seasons.

So far, Kovalev has tallied four points on two goals and two assists for the Cats. While his impact might currently be that of a role player to provide guidance and leadership to some of the newer, younger faces within the franchise, his on ice production shouldn’t necessarily be his only contribution. After all, he is a member of the elite 1,000-point club. He spent last year abroad, but just two seasons ago during which he only played 54 games, he netted a decent 13 goals and tacked on 13 assists for the Senators. [Read more...]

Game Day Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers. Shut Out The Lights

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: 6-6-1 (13 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-6-2 (12 PTS).

GAME DAY SONG: The Fuse by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Two struggling Florida teams will face off this afternoon when the reeling Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise, Florida.  The Lightning who started out hot, are now 0-5-1 in their last six games and are 1-4-0 on the road for the season find themselves just two points ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.  Tampa has beaten Florida the past five times they’ve met including January 29th by a score of 5-2.  That was the game where BJ Crombeen hit Ed Jovanovski knee on knee and we haven’t seen Jovo since.   Also of note during the Lightning’s latest winless streak is that their high powered offence hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of those six games.  The last time Tampa won was the very next game they played after beating the Panthers when they manhandled Winnipeg 8-3.

Tampa’s struggles can also be attributed to their suddenly anemic power play during this losing streak, which is only 2 for it’s last 18, while being outshot 186 to 147.  Tampa lost a close one to Washington on Thursday by a score of 4-3, but coach Guy Boucher is trying to remain optimistic throughout the streak:

“Either we just stay close and keep grinding and we come out of this, it’s still going to be a fight after we win one game,” said coach Guy Boucher, whose team went 0-6-1 from Jan. 3-15, 2012.

“It won’t change anything in terms of how we’re supposed to play, we’re just trying to be more consistent at it and get a bit of something positive out of it.”

[Read more...]

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