Being a long time former hockey coach, my big issue is with good players who with their personality suck the life out the team that they are on. They may have wonderful points-per-game stats, but there is no team when the playoffs come around and the defence gets tighter. Then these mega-ego personalities tend to get upset that things are not going their way, try to do it all themselves, and end up taking the whole team down the tubes with them.
These kinds of contracts should be reserved for the elite players who are the posterboys for the NHL. I don’t consider Kovalcjuk to be one of those. Obviously there are some Devils fans who think otherwise. That’s what makes sports great. Unfortunately, GMs get sucked into this culture of greed and hand out monster contracts to every bozo who has a few good months. Then they end up with Wade Reddens and Sheldon Sourays choking their cap space.
Athletes and especially good ones have huge egos, and the key is to find the ones that can work with others and help bring out the best in all of those around him.
The way that an athlete negotiates his contract says alot about what kind of personality they have. I found this Kovalchuk marathon of media rage painful to watch and listen to. And I am usually pretty starved for hockey news at this time of year.
In the end time will tell whether Kovalchuk is one of those kind of players. I think he is, and I don’t really know him. In any case, I hope that the Devils miss the playoffs and send a message that this culture of greed doesn’t work.
About the Author
Written by Marvin Miller
Freelance Sportswriter for many years. Hockey coach for 10 years up to Bantam AA. Certified Level 2 in both hockey and racquetball. Works now as a Senior Technical Writer. Hobbies, racquetball, playing guitar, and following hockey, particularly the NHL Draft.