I was as happy as any Devils fan when the news came out that Kovy would be a Devil for the next 10 years or more, but in the past two years I think he's shown that he isn't worth the 7 mil a season. Obviously when you sign a guy like Kovy you know what you're getting; a very fast player with good offensive instincts, and incredible ability both to score goals, and to divert defenses and set up in the zone.
The problem is that his offensive ability hasn't been able to overcome his stupid mistakes and all around failure on the defensive side. In the last game against the Islanders he made an unbelievably amateur move, giving up the puck with some fancy stick handling directly in front of the net and allowing the Isles an easy game winning goal. Against the Wild last night, his mistakes in the offensive zone, neutral zone, and defensive zone lead to 3 of the 4 Wild goals, including the 4th goal that ended the game. Stupid passes, and losing the puck on the blue line and in the neutral zone are becoming the expectation when Kovy's on the ice.
Granted Kovalchuk scores, and he makes things happen in the offensive zone. He has 15 points this season, not to mention 2 goals and 2 assists in the last three games. However, he is also minus 5 in that time (minus 9 for the season) and has been on the ice (if not outright responsible) for 8 of the last 10 goals against, as the devils went on to lose all three.
There was a long stretch in the 2nd period against the Wild where the Devils, with Kovy right in the middle of it, were doing everything but scoring to tie the game. But they didn't score and Kovy went on to give up the game closer. It doesn't matter how good you are at scoring if you can't equalize for the mistakes you're making.
Maybe it's the management's fault for not using Kovy in the right ways. At a certain point you have to realize that a player's innate ability just can't make up for poor decision making on the ice. I think giving him 25 minutes a game might be too much, especially on the penalty the kill. Whatever the case, something has to be done before Kovalchuk's stupid and irresponsible play take the devils out of the playoff picture for another season.