Is Alex Kovalev's Time Up as a Montreal Canadien?

Charles L. GareCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2009

When I heard that Mr. Gainey had taken the step of having a chat with Alex Kovalev and telling him he was staying home, I was shocked at first.

The more I thought about it, though, I began to realize that the very reserved Bob Gainey is telling his star player he has not been playing good enough this season.

This move has been sitting in the wings for a while now, a couple of week's ago Carbonneau sat him and allowed him only three shifts in the third period of that particular game.

Alex has not played up to his potential this year. Last year he scored thirty five goals; this year, thirteen is all he has managed.

What I want to know is: Is Alex Kovalev finished as a Montreal Canadien?

There is a lot going on with this whole team right now, but Kovalev being the star that he is should be accomplishing far more.

What I have noticed this year is his habit of trying to keep the puck too himself, skating around trying to deke the other team's players, not passing off to any of his own team.

When he does this, he never fails to lose the puck—usually resulting in a play into Montreal's own end.

This is also two weeks before the trade deadline, and I wonder has Mr. Gainey put him out there as possible trade bait? 

Alex is a very talented hockey player when he wants to be, and he can turn his season around.

Is that what Mr. Gainey is trying to do?  He is not only speaking to Kovalev, but the whole Canadiens team—telling them to get off their collective butts, and start playing good hockey and winning again.

There are rumors out there that say Kovalev might be shipped out west—maybe Edmonton or Vancouver.

Also, there is that persistent rumor about Lecavalier coming to the Habs for Higgins and some other Canadiens.

I guess we will soon find out the end result of this bold move by Mr. Gainey,

Will it turn the team around?  Is Washington and Pittsburgh going to be an all-out effort resulting in wins for the Canadiens?

Or will they come home to meet a very hot Senators team, with two more loses under their belt—and no Alex Kovalev?

Give it all you got, Bleu, Blanc, Rouge.