NHL on TSN Quiz: How will the Kovalev saga end? Staff

2/18/2009 11:38:05 PM

Every week, the NHL on TSN panel voices their opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz. offers you the opportunity to chime in on the big issues with the Insiders. Read the questions and answers from TSN's hockey experts and give us your thoughts in the Your Call feature.

Question No. 1: How will the Alex Kovalev Saga end?

Bob McKenzie: I think he'll come back to the Canadiens and play better.  Alex Kovalev, for all his faults, and he's demonstrated many of them with the way he's played this season, is also a proud individual who does have the capability to flip the switch and make it go, as shown by his playoff performance a few years ago.  He was the goat against the Boston Bruins and turned it around.  He'll come back a little humbled by all this, and make it better.

John Tortorella: He'll come back and play better.  I just think that he's so beat up from the slump that he's been in.  He's over-thought it and now this adds even more to it.  I think it's good that he's away.  If he can get himself situated mentally he's going to come back and play very well.

Keith Jones: I think he's going to be traded.  Where there's smoke, there's fire, and there's something more behind this story.  Alex Kovalev will not be back with the Montreal Canadiens.  Bob Gainey will get an offer that he cannot refuse.  Kovalev's name is out there, and Gainey is going to get big-time players in return.

Question No. 2: Which goaltender is the most likely to be traded before the deadline.

Keith Jones: Niklas Backstrom.  I think that Wild GM Doug Risebrough has learned a valuable lesson with Marion Gaborik allowing him to play out his last year.  Backstrom is unrestricted next season and there will be a ton of interest.  Backstrom is a terrific goaltender, but the Wild have Josh Harding backing him up, and his numbers are similar to Backstrom.  The Wild should go with the young guy.

John Tortorella: I'll go with Manny Fernandez.  I think the Bruins will try to make a deal to put themselves over the top to try to win the Stanley Cup again.  They'll put Fernandez out there and see where they can go.

Bob McKenzie:  I think Mikael Tellqvist of the Phoenix Coyotes because the market for goalies at the deadline will likely be for more of the backup variety.  He has a little bit of experience and isn't a bad goaltender and I think there will be some teams, like maybe the Calgary Flames that could have interest.

Question No. 3: The NBA is renaming their playoff MVP award in honour of the legendary Bill Russell.  If the NHL were to rename the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, which former player should they name it after?

John Tortorella: I'll go with best player ever, Bobby Orr.  I'm not a big fan of changing it, as far as putting a name on it, but Orr would be the name that I came up with. 

Keith Jones: I will also go with the best player ever, Wayne Gretzky.  Gretzky is the NHL playoff leader in goals, points and assists.  He absolutely did everything.  He is my choice.

Bob McKenzie: I'm surprised and disappointed by John Tortorella.  I thought that he would object to answering the question like I'm going to do.  They shouldn't change the names and we shouldn't even be talking about it.  The Conn Smythe Trophy has tradition, let's not disrespect that.  If you can't beat them on the ice, you can't beat them in the ally, don't change the name.

Question No. 4: Who is the most pure skill player in the NHL?

Keith Jones: Pavel Datsyuk by far.  He's an unbelievable talent.  Every time you see this guy step on the ice, he lights it up.  He's a phenomenal talent and has the most skill of anyone in the NHL.

John Tortorella: I'll go with Alexander Semin, even though I don't think he's in the top 15 or 20 when it comes to the best players in the game, but as far as talent level, I'll put him right at the top.

Bob McKenzie: I'll agree with Keith Jones and go with Pavel Datsyuk.  Watching his game against the Predators on Wednesday night, he was all over the ice.  He's got the head, hands and best skill set in the NHL.