Alex Kovalev wasn’t available to speak with the media Wednesday after practice at Scotiabank Place.
If he doesn’t produce soon, he’ll be sitting with the scribes.
Kovalev pulled a disappearing act — kind of like he has on the ice for most of this season — when it came to answering questions following the Senators’ 40-minute practice.
But Kovalev was quite noticeable wearing a green sweater skating on the fourth line with a combination of Jesse Winchester, Ryan Shannon and Peter Regin as the team’s search for offence continues.
While Kovalev will suit up against the Rangers Thursday to start a three-game homestand, coach Cory Clouston hasn’t ruled out scratching the enigmatic winger from the lineup if he doesn’t get on track.
“We’re not going to look at that (making Kovalev a healthy scratch) right now,” said Clouston. “We’re going to take it game-by-game. Ask me that in another night or two.”
Kovalev and linemates Mike Fisher and Milan Michalek haven’t been getting the job done since a 3-0 win over the Maple Leafs on Nov. 27, when the trio accounted for all three goals — one of which was the last by Kovalev.
Clouston can’t afford to sit back and let this go on without making changes.
His job is to find answers and he’s trying to find a way to motivate Kovalev, which is never easy at the best of times.
“It’s indicative that line hasn’t scored since the Toronto game when they were by far our best line,” said Clouston. “We’ve had nothing since then and we can’t have nothing. We need something.
“We need to see if somebody else can produce and we need to — I don’t want to say shake things up — but we need guys to go out there and start creating offence, playing hard and playing right. If we don’t, if we have two or three guys who don’t want to do that, then we have troubles.”
With the exception of Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly and Chris Neil, every trio was changed. Fisher was with Nick Foligno and Daniel Alfredsson, while Jason Spezza had Bobby Butler and Michalek on the wings.
The Senators need to get everybody going, but they won’t get back on track if Spezza, Alfredsson, Fisher, Michalek and Kovalev don’t start scoring goals.
“Nobody is scoring. We haven’t generated much as a team,” said Spezza. “We’re capable of scoring goals in here. There’s no reason we can’t discover our touch. We’ve just got to keep looking forward here.
“If we keep looking back, we’re going to beat ourselves up. We’re going to be playing catch-up. If we keep looking at the stats every day, it’s going to be a long year. It’s pretty bad right now. We still have to do a better job of playing defence. We’re not doing either.”
How bad is it? Alfredsson is scoreless in eight, which is the longest pointless drought of his career.
“If we can get the offence going it would take care of a lot of other problems,” said Alfredsson. “I’m not at the top of my game. We’re not generating enough offence. I have no problem with the way we’re playing 5-on-5 and the penalty killing is doing a good job.
“We’ve got to find a way to create more offence. I don’t think it’s anything where you can decide one morning, ‘I’m going to bring more offence.’ You have to work on it with your linemates.”