In the latest edition of the Bruins Craic with Kevin Flanagan and me, we talk to Eric Engels of Sportsnet Montreal about his recent report that the Boston Bruins are once again interested in Montreal Canadiens forward Ilya Kovalchuk. We also discuss the potential of the Bruins bringing their former captain Joe Thornton back from the San Jose Sharks before the February 24 NHL Trade deadline.
Kovalchuk has six goals and six assists since signing with the Canadien January 3 after his contract with the Los Angeles Kings was terminated in December. Engels had a message for all those who are ready to bash Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney if he trades what likely will be a second-round pick for Kovalchuk when he could’ve had him for the league minimum without trading anything a month ago:
“If anybody in retrospect says ‘Why are you giving up a second-round pick when you could’ve had him for free, did it really make sense for them when he was completely unproven and there was a potential for him to upset the apple cart and the potential for him to come there and be thrust in a third or fourth-line role and be forced to do the same thing he was doing in Los Angeles which is not doing anything? The chemistry would be out of whack. I wouldn’t have done it.
But now, what Kovalchuk has shown in Montreal and what he has proven off the ice and on the ice and his passion for the game, he’s a veritable star. He’s worth to a team like Boston, who has Stanley Cup aspirations, they sneeze at a second-round pick because he’s worth it just as an insurance policy if David Pastrnak breaks a finger and goes down for three weeks. This is a no-brainer for a team like that.”
Listen to more on that and the what Engels, Flannagan and I think of a Jumbo Joe return to Boston for one last run at the Stanley Cup: