Zoning in on scoring woes

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

He's had zero goals, zero assists, just 10 shots and is minus-6 in the last half dozen games.

A wiseguy might tell Alex Kovalev the break is over and it's time to go back to work, but the veteran winger says his struggles are team-related.

"I'm fine, as far as I'm playing well," Kovalev said Monday. "It's only I don't put up points, but it's a tough time to create opportunities and chances because most of the time we're playing in our zone. We're spending less time in the offensive zone, and it's definitely hard to put up any points.

"Before the Olympics, we played (on the other) half of the ice, and we had a better transition game going. We always put a lot of pressure on the opposition. It's definitely a lot easier to play that way. You don't waste your energy to play 60-70% of the time in your defensive zone."

Kovalev says the Senators are lacking in confidence.

"Every time we get the puck, we're throwing it somewhere, without looking. Always making the bad passes. It comes down to just not trusting yourself. I know sometimes it comes from not playing for a little bit. We were rolling pretty good before the Olympics, then after the Olympics it looks like we're still struggling to find our game."

Coach Cory Clouston said "10-12" other guys could also be blamed for the offensive swoon, but he'd still like to see Kovalev shoot more.

"You can't just be shooting the puck from everywhere," countered Kovalev. "It has to be quality shots. To have a quality shot, you've got to get in the offensive zone and you've got to set up your partners or yourself and take a quality shot. Just to make a mark that you made a shot, it's just not worth it. We give away pucks so easily, instead of having control of the puck and let the opposition team chase us, trying to take the puck away from us. It all comes down from being confident."

Round five?

D Matt Carkner knew he was due for more Colton Orr questions on Monday. "You guys like to talk about that, eh?" said Carkner, who will likely scrap with the Leafs enforcer for a fifth time Tuesday. Carkner was on the short end of their last meeting, but was at the end of a shift when the two squared off. One theory is that's why Orr ran Brian Lee rather than ask Carkner to dance. "I think that's probably what he was trying to do," Carkner said. "I'm not sure he knew I was at the end of my shift ... you could see I was pretty buckled."


Videos

Photos