Truly, it can go either way—he could come back and be the player he is supposed to be, or he could come back and be the dog he has been for most of the season.
Fans salivate at the raw skill Kovalev possesses and are waiting for the "old" Kovalev to return. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to burst your bubble—this is the same old Kovalev!
Enigmatic and underachieving—those are the two most pertinent superlatives you can attach to him.
You might ask why, after Kovalev's "resurgence" last year. The fact that people call an 84-point season a resurgence for a guy of his skill level should speak volumes.
I have said time and time again that if he is the guy you are relying on to be your No. 1 player going into the playoffs, then you should clean off the golf clubs, because you're going to need them soon.
Don't get me wrong, I like the guy—but as the No. 2 or No. 3 forward on a team.
He does possess the ability to win a series on his own, but the opposite is true as well.
Only time will tell which side of that blue line Gainey lands on.