Prospects

Robin Kovacs missing from Hartford camp?

robin kovacs

An interesting note, Robin Kovacs was not not he Hartford Wolf Pack training camp roster. There are some rumblings that he may be in Sweden based on his Instagram account, but it is strange that he’s not with the Pack.

Looking to rebound from a poor year last season, Kovacs was one of the first players cut from camp this year. It’s a little alarming that he’s not in camp this year, and with no official word on where he is, it makes you wonder.

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  • And in other news regarding former prospects, here’s one hot off the presses about the most overrated Rangers prospect and biggest bust in recent memory—Dylan McIlrath was waived AGAIN today, this time by the Wings. Based on the past year’s assessment of the Underwhelmer, he will almost certainly clear waivers and be on his way to Grand Rapids where he will continue to be an important piece of the puzzle—in the AHL, not the NHL. It leaves me wondering…has their EVER been a first round pick in hits age 25 season that has played for three organizations and waived three times in 12 months? Maybe he’ll earn a HOF mention for that? 🙂

    Look, in truth, I take no satisfaction in posting this. By all accounts, McIlrath was and is a good teammate and his effort and dedication to rebuild his career, especially after the serious knee injury he suffered, is nothing short of impressive and praise worthy. So none of this is about the player.

    My “gloating”, if you will, is about all the over the top rhetoric on this kid on this and other blogs for what, 2-3 years now, and how AV was taken to the woodshed totally unfairly over not playing and trusting a flawed borderline NHL/AHL player. It was an insane debate then and a laughable notion now. If anything, AV should be taken to task for BELIEVING in the kid as much as he did—more so than any other NHL coach to this point and likely more than any ever will. I suspect McIlrath will forever be grateful that AV at least gave him his one real chance to be a part of an NHL team in the 30+ games in 2015-16, which it seems may turn out to be his high water mark in NHL.

    But will we actually hear from any of the McIlrath Minions, and maybe hear them say, “hey, perhaps we were wrong on this and our criticism of the coach in this case was not warranted?” I somehow doubt it. In fact, when we have one of those days where we get “out-physicalled”, I am certain we will hear from a Minion or two who will still insist that if only we still had McIlrath, this player or that player would not have been abused. And I wonder if one of our resident geniuses, the Hockey Oracle I will call him, will still insist that AV “destroyed” a valuable asset, even though the coach actually was the only NHL coach in the league who ever believed in him.

    So in advance, I shall say “LOL” to any of you who choose to go down that ludicrous path.

    • I love you bro but once again you, and others, miss the point about advocating for playing McIlrath, or any Ranger that is not a star.

      You play your best players. Again, you play your best players, not your highest contracts. McIlrath was better than G, Staal, Holden, and Klein when he was here. Not because McIlrath was so great but because the other 4n are complete stiffs. Same goes for Clendening when he was here.

      • Love you too Richter, but you’re wrong dude. Dylan was not better than those who were mentioned even in his sheltered minutes. That is why hw has not made it to the NHL. His decision making and positioning were the problems.

        He is apparently a really nice young man and if he wants to play hockey in the AHL or somehow gets a shot to try with another NHL team I’d be pulling for him. But three organizations have declined to play him and that cannot be dismissed.

        • lol, love you too bro.

          I am very fortunate to see 25-30 games per year and then the playoffs. When you see the whole ice you see the plays develop and what individual players are doing at all times.

          I cannot tell yo how incredibly bad G and Staal were/are. Seeing on TV, on a limited screen, does not do it justice.

          Again, I wasn’t a big fan of McIlrath, starting with the day he was drafted, so I wasn’t advocating for him with personal bias, but he was “much better” than the $11+M of totally wasted cap space that was getting 20+ minutes per night.

          You can start the over/under on the number of games Staal will play as a Ranger this year, whether he hits LTIR or the press box.

      • I disagree buddy. But it doesnt really matter what you and I think, because neither of us make our living evaluating players. We are just fans. The pros who do this for a living vehemently disagree with what you are saying. Certainly on McIlrath. I’ll say again. Girardi, McIlrath and Clendo ALL were free to pursue the best deals out there this summer. Girardi, who some said (possibly you, I don’t recall) was not even an NHL player any more, got a pretty huge deal with term involved. Clendo got a typical 7D deal. McIlrath got a two way deal that pretty much guaranteed he would likely be in the AHL. So the league weighed in loud and clear.

        There is ZERO chance Yzerman gives Girardi that deal if there weren’t other suitors out there also willing to go to that level. And if McIlrath and Clendo were considered to be true assets—McIlrath a physical presence with a booming shot and Clendo a puck mover—and both right handed—wouldn’t they have been able to do better than the deals they got?

        I have no doubt that if Staal had been bought out, he would have gotten a similar deal that Girardi got. If Holden was waived, I have little doubt he would be claimed and would be playing in the NHL, not the AHL. Klein? Well, at this point, no doubt, he’s be ranked last of that group. But a year ago? No question in my mind every NHL exec takes Klein over McIlrath or Clendo.

        The evidence is pretty overwhelming it seems.

        Now, I do realize that I may have to eat a bit of crow if Clendo plays well in Arizona, and by all accounts he’s had a goood camp. So I’m preparing for that! :). But on McIlrath, he isn’t better than ANY NHL player, including Girardi.

        • Why do you assume that professional GMs know what they’re doing?

          I’m a huge Giant fan and Jerry Reese ruined my team’s year by being delusional that bringing back the same offensive line was the right thing to do. I didn’t have to wait to see the results to say that was a dumbass thing to do and the 0-3 start can directly be attributable to the offense and the offensive line. I am having this same discussion on Blueshirt Banter.

          Staal should have been bought out. Plain and simple because no one will trade for him, even at half the cap space. I think I know why he wasn’t bought out but I can’t say it here with certainty so I won’t because it’s not pretty.

          Pionk was much better than Staal in the preseason and that’s not a debatable comment IMO. It will be proven that Staal cannot keep up and the Rangers will have no choice but to do something about it. I don’t have to see the games and the results to make that call.

          As for Stevie Y, he needs his head examined.

          Don’t assume they’re right.

          • Richter, you raise an excellent point there. I too, am a huge Giants fan. My family has had lifelong connections to the Maras going back several generations. When i was a kid, I used to hang out in Yankee Stadium and be on the field for their Saturday practices (SOOOOO cool….still have great pictures and autographs from the late 60s early 70s teams! Fran was my man!). We’ve had season tickets in the same location at every stadium they have played in since 1925. So I totally feel your pain.

            The Giants are a great example of 50 years (that I’ve observed) of a mixed bag of utter incompetence mixed in with spectacular success. No question. What you are saying about Reece is 100% correct and I would be shocked if he is back next year. This season is on him. To not address an obvious weakness like that is rephensible. I am convinced that if you polled the other 31 GMs, that most would have made changes to that abysmal O-line.

            But keep in mind that football’s cap allows for much greater flexibility. When you makes mistakes, there are ways to get out of those mistakes. The NHL cap is the most unforgiving system that there is. Once a commitment is made, it is very difficult to extricate yourself from that mistake.

            I agree with you. Individual GMs and coaches aren’t always right. But if I owned the Giants (or the Rangers), as much as I respect your opinion and others out here, I can pretty much tell you I would NOT hire you or anyone else out here to be my GM or head coach. (I’d hire you to join me in the owners suite as executive consultant, how would that be?). :).

            You are a fan. A knowledgeable fan. Maybe among the most knowledgeable out here. I’m a fan. I’d say less knowledgeable than you. I wouldn’t hire me to run the Kitchener Rangers, let alone the NY Rangers. I would find myself the best of the best. I run a major media organization. I have viewers e-mail me all the time with great suggestions. But I wouldn’t hire any of them to run my properties.

            Certainly GMs and coaches make mistakes. My point is, the ENTIRE NHL community has weighed in here. I doubt all 31 GMs are wrong. So Jerry Reece being wrong is about Jerry Reece. All the moves the Rangers have made that we have been debating have been basically validated by everyone else.

            So again, my only point with all of this is, the premise always was, if only we had a different coach other than AV. The overwhelming evidence is that NOTHING would have changed, based on what has happned with each player we are debating.

          • Good post my friend, but let’s debate, lol.

            First off, I in no way am I saying that I am “smarter” than any professional GM. We are not “there” every day and who knows what goes on?

            My “opinions” are related to “common sense” things that should be done or not done. For example:

            1) G, Staal, KK, and Holden off the Rangers.
            2) Putting Staal/Holden out at the end of playoff games while Skjei/Smith get benched for the last 5-10 minutes of those games.
            3) Bringing back the same OL for the Giants.
            4) Re-signing Carmelo Anthony.

            These are incredibly dumb moves or non-moves that doesn’t require experience as a professional sports GM. It’s just stupidity and it doesn’t make me a “genius” by any means.

            I made the points on the other Ranger blog that in the 2016 draft, Reese was out maneuvered not once but twice, as 2 teams leap frogged the Giants to take 2 players the Giants coveted. That’s brutal. Shane Conlon (OT from Mich State) was their man and Reese was asleep at the wheel while, I think it was Tenn, traded up to get him. Then the Bears traded up to get the DE from Georgia or Florida, I forget which. So the Giants “settled” on Eli Apple, who may turn out to be very good but it was still their “3rd option.” that sucks considering where they drafted in 2016.

            Everything, and I mean everything on offense, starts with the OL. They don’t have to be great but average would be nice. Even in this year’s draft, I love Engram, but how could they not draft an OT, even with a thin crop? Or not sign Marshall and then use the $$ to sign Whitworth?

            But they did nothing and now they will have wasted this year, go .500, miss the playoffs and draft in the middle of the draft. Brutal.

            With the Rangers, $11+M tied up into 2 stiffs that played significant minutes. Again, you don’t have to be a “genius” to know that this is a recipe for disaster. Dead cap space for buyouts? You bet, because #1 you should pay for your mistakes and #2 you get rid of dead weight players to at least have the chance to replace them with productive players.

            Thank you Rangers for wasting the career of a HOF goalie who has won everything except for…

          • I really can’t disagree with much here. Certainly on your Giants analysis. I don’t get into weeds with football off-season moves the way I do with the Yankees and the Rangers. But it’s hard to argue with much of what you are saying.

            On point one re: the Rangers, I’m fine with all three being gone. But again, easier said than done in a hard cap world. And, given the choice between flawed vets vs marginal AHL/NHL types, I’ll opt for the “flawed” experience on a contender any day over a player who projects out to be at best a 7D type. So, IMO no issue (to this point anyway) on the Rangers choices of who to play the last few years. (Who to “pay” and keep around? Different story, and that’s on the GM).

            This is why I’m always a little reticent to jump to the “off with his head” stuff when it comes to coaches. Obviously, there are clearly some coaches that are better than others. And every coach, even the best coaches like AV, like Torts, like Coach Q (the latter strongly rumored to legitimately be on the hot seat this year), have a shelf life and eventually it’s healthy for the organization to make a change. And I even said last year, I would NOT have given AV the extension when they did. If it were me, I would have waited for the season to be over to determine if there was a chance to upgrade. The fact that Gorton decided to forgo that opportunity is a pretty clear signal that Gorton is VERY happy with his head coach. And/or, the current landscape of available coaches did not provide an upgrade, as was the case when the Rangers traded up with Torts replacing Renney, and then again with AV replacing Torts.

            I am much, much harsher on GMs. And particularly in hockey. It’s my belief that in NHL hockey, more so than any other sport, the coach has less effect on the outcome than any other sport. Not saying no effect. Not saying a great coach doesn’t make a difference. Of course they can. But in other sports, the coach or manager is literally managing every moment of what happens. In hockey, it is a game in constant motion with few play stoppages and opportunities to affect the outcome. The majority of the coaching takes place in the preparation, both in the film room and in practice. During the game, I’d say at least 80% or more is on the players and their ability to finish and win one on one battles. I realize that is a subject of debate, but in my years covering sports and interviewing GMs and coaches in all sports, my thinking has evolved in that direction.

            So back to football, I’m not a McAdoo fan, but to me the issue is Reece far more than it is the coach. And back to hockey, if the Rangers dont win it during the Hank Era, it will not likely be because of AV, but instead be the epic fail of Sather and yes, to an extent at least, Gorton and anyone else doing player evaluation that failed to provide three good head coaches (Renney, Torts and AV) anywhere near enough high end talent that is usually required to win it all.

            Lastly, the late game stuff vs Ottawa. Certainly fair and on the coaching staff to some extent. But again, three different units were on ice. We failed all three times. In Game 6, the worst defensemen were Skjei and Smith IMO. There is no evidence to suggest that ANY move would have made a difference. And while we will never know for sure, I have a strong hunch that Beuke was the main culprit and that was part of the reason he was canned.

            On top of that, if Miller, Hayes, Kreider and Stepan are total playoff no-shows, we didnt even deserve to win one round, let alone two.

          • I really can’t argue too much of what you said bro.

            My issue with the coach is exactly what you said above, that the coach doesn’t have that much to do with overall play, but the stuff he DOES have control over he makes very questionable decisions, which we will not rehash, lol.

            In sports you have to make the most of the few opportunities yo have to succeed or win a championship.

            For the Rangers, here are the simple facts:

            They never (hardly) draft in the top 10.

            They always make the playoffs so they pick on the back third of the round.

            Their highest paid players are on the back end of their careers.

            The prospect pool, while better than it was, is not the type to replenish half a roster, hence the signings of Hayes, Vesey, Pionk, Lettieri, etc.

            Sather was a GM for 5 years too long, thanks to a complete idiot of an owner. So the signings under his watch were devastating relating to cap management, which s still hurting the team.

            The saving grace is Shesty appears to be the real deal as a replacement for Henrik and his timing will be perfect, 2 years from now. And don’t count out Huska either.

            The Rangers will continue their youth movement as Nash (signed for $4M per?), Staal, Holden, etc. will all be gone and players like Pionk, Day, etc. will come to play here.

            What else do we have but hope?

          • We have hope for the Rangers. And the Yankees if you are a fan. Giants? All hope is lost. Reece will be gone and I’m not even sure McAdoo can and should survive this.

          • I hope the Giants now go 0-16 so the new GM has a high draft pick. Is there a stud OT in next year’s draft?

            Trade down to gather more picks too.

          • I will defer to you on that….off-season football or college players is out of my sphere of knowledge.

            I think you and I are roughly the same age? Maybe? I’ve been following sports for 50 years. Relative to expectations, other than perhaps the 1992-93 Rangers, I can’t think of a more disappointing outcome than the likely outcome of this Giants season of any of the NY sports teams I follow. Although I’m sure some Mets/Jets fans would have a few, such as this season’s Mets team I guess. But relative to expectations, this year’s Giants and that Ranger team…doesnt get worse than that.

          • Based on expectations, the Giants’ franchise has to be stunned. I know I am. And this was the easier part of their schedule.

            I just looked and I am a huge Penn St fan. RB Saquon Barkley is 2018’s Zeek. He would look good in a Giants’ uniform. An absolute stud.

            I am 58 BTW.

        • And one last over-arching point. The sub-text to most of these “play the best players” debates was always, “if only we had a coach other than AV, that coach would play the player we in the blogosphere are arguing for” (based in most cases on our fan perspective eye test and/or fancy stats that, while interesting and useful, are hardly a hard and fast metric or predictor of success, especially when it comes to hockey and particularly defensemen.). Essentially, what you and others have said and are saying is, AV is the outlier here, and if most anyone else were coach, we would have seen different decisions.

          My point has always been, unless the next coach of the Rangers is someone form the blogosphere, that the NHL establishment coaches would pretty much ALL make the same judgments that AV made. I think this past year of evaluations of Girardi, Clendo and McIlrath by all 30 or 31 teams pretty conclusively proves that.

          • E3 you are wrong and mentally unstable. Good for you. Losers love to lose. If corrections were made we would not be losers.

          • Or in the case of Rock, I sub out “ini” in “minion” for an “or” for a more apt description. 🙂

      • He wasn’t better than any of them. You are suffering from “backup QB syndrome”, whereas you’ve seen enough of the starter to know he isn’t the answer and you want to see more of the player you don’t know if he could be the answer.

        In response to Eddie!Eddie!Eddie!, McIlrath lived up to the reputation he had here of being a great kid and great teammate. The coaching staff commented that he provided exactly what they were missing and was crucial for them to win the Calder. He would have been a very good NHL player 30 years ago and a great NHL player 50 years ago.

    • Eddie let’s make a game out of who can find the best Mcilrath Minion quote on this website. I swear I remember a regular saying if only AV game him a chance that he would be the next coming of Chris Pronger!

      • LOL! That’s absolutely correct and I know EXACLTY who it was. But I respect his opinions on many Rangers matters and will not call him out. However, he KNOWS who he is and if he would like to amend his prediction, well, now would be a good time. 🙂

    • C’mon Eddie, you do so take satisfaction in posting this. I believe you are right when you say that you never wished him ill.

      Let’s be fair on the subject of what waivers means. It doesn’t mean you don’t want the guy; it just means he does not fit on your NHL roster at this time. Truthfully, the reason McIlrath “made” the team last fall was because the conventional wisdom was that McIlrath was an NHL player, that if the Rangers risked the waiver wire, they would lose him. Once he did clear waivers, his classification changed. AFAIK, the Wings envisioned McIlrath as a #8 or #9 defensemen, a guy who could safely pass through waivers and help out in an injury pinch.

      And GMs do make errors. While Dylan is inferior to the vast majority of NHL defensemen, I would bet that he is better than a few people mistakenly put in there. I personally don’t put Girardi on that list, but I assert that there is a list (and sadly at the end of last season, Kevin Klein was really on it – if you recall, none of the G, Staal, Holden critics wanted to see Klein).

      Finally, this organization did draft Hugh Jessiman and Bobby Sanguinetti. D Mac was an unfortunate choice, not an extraordinary one.

  • Please pray for the family of Dave Strader, NHL play by play man, who died of cancer at the young age of 62. Great voice and seemed like a very nice man.

    And please pray for Kovacs who obviously is emotionally messed up from the tragedy over the summer, where his best friend was killed in a car accident where they were road racing. Very sad.

    • Prayers indeed in both cases. Strader was an iconic NHL voice and by all accounts that I ever heard a wonderful person (much like Craig Sager was for TBS).

      I hadn’t heard that about Kovacs in terms of what happened with his friend. Obviously, that would be hard for anyone to handle, especially someone so young. Thoughts and prayers to all.

  • I thought Dave forbidden us to speak Mciirath on this site. But yes Eddie you were right…so what do you think another Jack Adams award for torts this year?

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