John MacLean's benching of Ilya Kovalchuk is one of most bizarre actions from a rookie NHL coach I've ever seen.
Scratching your star winger is bad enough. But only 8 games into a 15 year, $100 million contract?
I have not really watched the Devils so far this season. Sure they've struggled, although with 2 goals and team-leading 5 points in 7 games is Kovy the problem? Perhaps coach MacLean should try a little line juggling first, or maybe even putting him on the left wing, his strong side.
Surely there must be something behind the scenes that we don't know about. John MacLean is committing coaching suicide by benching the team's most expensive player, on home ice, this early into a contract that apparently the owner, not the normally dictatorial general manager, insisted upon.
How does MacLean defend this decision to the owner Jeff Vanderbeek, let alone GM Lou Lamoreillo? The Devils have enough problems selling tickets - why would anyone pay those high ticket prices to watch Alexander Vasyunov, Jacob Josefson, Matt Taormina, Olivier Magnan-Grenier and some other guys I've never heard of while the $100 million dollar goal scorer is sitting in the same seats as the ticket buyers?
Why would MacLean want to embarrass the new face of the franchise? Does he really believe he can win a war with the owner's hand picked star armed with an immovable 15 year contract?
Surely there must be something more to this that we don't know about. Surely John MacLean is not that dumb. Sure, he's been forced by either Vanderbeek and/or Lamoreillo with an inferior lineup due to the insane Kovalchuk contract. Nevermind the fact that many hockey people felt Kovy was the wrong puzzle piece in the wrong puzzle.
The whole thing is just puzzling.
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