Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carbonneau's welcome is vital

According to various reports out Thursday, Alex Kovalev's walk through Old Montreal with Bob Gainey has resulted in him preparing to re-join the team for practice on Friday.

I must say I'm pretty stunned because I never thought Kovalev would be willing to swallow his pride like this and come back to the team. If that's in fact the case, then power to you Alex, you're a bigger man than I thought.

But the humility that Kovalev is showing by accepting to change his ways and buy into Guy Carbonneau's system must now be reciprocated by someone who is almost as proud, if not more so.

Carbonneau has to put Kovalev into situations for him to succeed, and maybe give him a bit of a longer leash when it comes to some of his more bothersome tendencies. I'm not saying Carbonneau has been unfair with Kovalev this season, because in fact it's been the exact opposite.

But now that this episode has happened, Carbonneau needs to go out of his way to welcome Kovalev back and explain to him how intricately the team's success is tied to his, that when he creates a lazy turnover or takes a stupid penalty the whole team suffers, probably in more ways than Kovalev understands.

Finally, Carbonneau has to come right out and say what he loves saying to reporters, that for his team to win his best players need to be his best players. And you, Alex, are my best player, so I need you to act like it.

Doing that will not be easy for Carbonneau, who readily admits his communications skills are not his strength. Most of the player-relations duties on this team are handled by Kirk Muller, who serves as the good cop to Carbonneau's bad cop.

But Kovalev needs to hear this from the top guy, and if he's willing to put his ego aside to come back to the team, Carbonneau should be willing to do the same.


Rajiv said...

Hey Arpon,

What is this bad news that is apparently coming out of the Habs' organization tomorrow??

They have been mentioning it on L'Antichambre and 110%. It's making me nervous!


Arpon Basu said...

I heard Rejean Tremblay refer to it on the radio today as well, and I have no idea what it is.

Yves said...

I've always believed that Kovalev and Gainey have much mutual respect.

Despite much of the media questioning Kovalev's heart... I do believe the guy's honest and does try hard.

The GM (Neil Smith??) who drafted him talked about him on a TSN show... and talked about the expectations for him and also how he (Kovalev) may see his "role" in the game... it was very interesting.