Alex Kovalev isn’t P.K. Subban’s biggest fan. Subban has plenty of critics, but an interview with RDS.ca revealed that Kovalev is one of the more vocal critics of the young defenseman. Kovalev criticized Subban’s defensive play before slamming his huge contract. For extra measure, he added his belief that Subban doesn’t deserve to be the next captain in Montreal.
Here’s Kovalev’s statement, translated through Google:
“He’s a good player, but he remains a dangerous defender. He can get five goals, but allow five so the score would be equal. I always compare him to Brian Leetch because he also wants to play a more attacking style. He does not always take the right decisions and plays just like he did on the streets as a child.
I do not understand how players can get such contracts now. It’s a different time and the players that preceded my generation probably thought the same of us.
He won the Norris Trophy so it may be a reason why he was awarded this contract. But with regard to his game, I do not understand why he gets so much money.”
Evidently, retiring hasn’t removed Kovalev from having some very strong opinions.
There’s some truth to Kovalev’s analysis, but it’s also true that the game is evolving and the NHL now rewards defensemen who contribute more on offense than they do on defense. That wasn’t the case when Kovalev broke into the league back in 1992. Players of old probably are going to have a hard time assigning value to a skill which really wasn’t seen very often during the bulk of Kovalev’s career.
Kovalev also mentioned that he doesn’t think Subban is worthy of the “C” in Montreal. Instead, he suggested that Max Pacioretty or Andrei Markov would be suitable candidates. Each team has their own methodology when it comes to picking a captain, but it’s clear that Subban would be a polarizing choice.