I Want To Believe...
"It's not as bad as it might have been," Mulder said, "but it's not as bad as it could have been, either. He'll probably be out four to eight weeks. I would say mid-December would be very hopeful. Six weeks is a good estimate."
Not as bad as it might have been, but not as bad as it could have been either??? Is it four, six or eight?? The truth is out there...
With injuries to Jan Bulis, Richard Zednik, and Radek Bonk, the Canadiens' depth has already been put to the test this season. Steve Begin, Alex Perezhogin, Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins have filled in admirably. Now, we'll find out what happens to the Habs without their most talented forward since Guy Lafleur.
I agree with Red Fisher that Koivu, not Kovalev, is the team's best and most important player. However, Kovalev will be harder to replace. If Koivu were out for an extended period (as has been known to happen from time to time), an amalgamation of Higgins, Bonk, Ribeiro and Begin etc. could form a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of their captain if they all pick up their games a little. There is no player in the organization that comes close to Kovalev's skill. No one can handle the puck or run the power play like he can. I think we'll see the top line and top PP unit change their tactics. A little less puck control, a little more dump & chase. Less tic-tac-toe, more shoot and drive to the net.
Losing Kovalev shouldn't be catastrophic. That is, unless Koivu's increased exposure leads to an injury. How does a #1 line centred by Mike Ribeiro sound? Yikes. On the upside, Perezhogin will be getting plenty of icetime which can only be good for his development.