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Evan’s NHL Daily: Kovalenko, The Center? Jagr Night Ruined; Special Anniversary



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This has got to be it for the Pittsburgh Penguins, right? Sidney Crosby has been carrying them to where they are in the standings, but even that doesn’t look good enough to make the playoffs. With an NHL (and hockey) legend in the building on Sunday night, the Penguins choked in the final seven minutes, losing the game and picking up zero points. Time to sell.

Over in the KHL, Nikolai Kovalenko’s team has been struggling a lot, so they’ve switched things up. One of those changes is putting Kovalenko at center. It hasn’t helped the record much, but it has helped Kovalenko get back on track.

And over in the NHL, it wasn’t pretty, but the Avalanche pulled out a win against the Coyotes at home. They’ll probably need to be way better on Tuesday against the Canucks. Two offside reviews were the story in the third period, which was fitting, given the date…

All that and more in this Monday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

It’s not his first time in Colorado, but Chris Wagner is older, wiser, and ready to show he can still play in the NHL. (+)

The game almost took three hours, but it was worth the wait, as the Avalanche held on for a win over the Coyotes.

A video meeting with Nolan Pratt has changed things up for Bowen Byram, who has been an impact player for the Avalanche the last week.

Kovalenko At Center?

I really doubt Nikolai Kovalenko will be used at center when he makes his way to the NHL, but a little versatility isn’t the worst thing in the world. The last few games, Torpedo has been using him down the middle, and I actually think he looks pretty solid. He’s well over 50% in the face-off circle, but more importantly, the move to center has gotten him back on track, as he touches the puck a lot more. He’s got points in three of his last four games after a drought, and his physicality is back in a big way.

He’s at his best when he’s on the edge. This wasn’t called a penalty, as the refs must have felt it was a bang-bang play with a whistle, but he’s got some nasty in him.

We are officially reaching the stage of “Kovalenko Watch” for the Avalanche. The KHL playoffs start in 10 days, and Torpedo has dropped to 6th in their conference, with a chance to fall to 7th. He might be here before you know it. Like, within the month…

Special Anniversary

It’s fitting there were two offside reviews in the Avalanche/Coyotes game, including one that took forever, because Sunday was a big anniversary for the NHL.

That goal is the reason there are offside reviews now, which may not be a good thing. There’s got to be a time limit on them to keep the flow of the game going, at the very least. The one on Sunday night took almost 10 minutes. Bednar claimed they saw it right away on their cameras, so what the heck took the NHL so long?

I remember being at that Duchene game and the general confusion around what had just happened. I had no idea what was about to come…

Around The NHL

You would think you’d want to put on a good show in front of a franchise and NHL legend, but in reality, the Pittsburgh Penguins just showed who they really are.

With a 1-0 lead late in the third, the Penguins gave up two goals, including one shorthanded goal against, and blew a game right in front of Jaromir Jagr.

This has got to be it, right? Sure, they’re not out of it to make the NHL playoffs, but at some point, you are who you are, and that team just isn’t very good. Sell. Sell. Sell.

National Hockey Now

Prior to the debacle on the ice, Jaromir Jagr met with the media and dished out some real life lessons.

The Sharks may deal Alex Barabanov, but he’s going the wrong way at the wrong time. (+)

Is Nico Daws here to save the Devils season? I still think they go get Markstrom…

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Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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