Reasons why Ilya Kovalchuk is worth every penny of his huge contract…Rangers-Flyers hatred…Scott Arniel’s press conference fail…the NHL’s best looking teams…Henrik Sedin on the Canucks toughness…Should the Leafs pursue Evgeni Nabokov?…The Canadiens salary cap headaches…Absurd Goalie Monday.


Is Kovalchuk worth his expensive contract?

RANT SPORTS: Steve Palumbo lists reasons why Ilya Kovalchuk is worth every penny of the expensive contract the New Jersey Devils are paying him. Sadly, being the franchise superstar to draw in the fans which ownership expected him to become is not among them, which is the real reason why they inked him to the contract which probably still keeps GM Lou Lamoriello awake at night.

THE NEW YORK RANGERS BLOG: The Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers hate each other. Doesn’t hold a candle to the hatred between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. That, folks, is real hate. What the Rangers and Flyers have toward each other is more annoyance than hate.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel has a Michael Scott moment at a recent post-game press conference. Now we know the real reason the club hasn’t fired him: uncomfortable comic relief, in the vein of “The Office” in its early seasons.

BACKHAND SHELF: “Ms. Conduct” ranks the NHL teams by attractiveness. Hey, those clubs in the bottom of the rankings aren’t ugly, they’re ruggedly handsome!

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Canucks captain Henrik Sedin believes his team is as tough as everyone else. Why, his own brother takes punches to the face without flinching.

BARRY MELROSE ROCKS: presents: The 2012 Winter Classic Drinking Game. Just don’t do this and attempt to drive.

BLUE CHIP PROSPECTS: suggests the Toronto Maple Leafs should consider trading for Evgeni Nabokov to shore up their goaltending. Not sure if he’s the best option, but unless their current tandem of Reimer and Gustavsson improves in the coming weeks, it might be the only one available.

ALL HABS: The current contracts of Scott Gomez and Andrei Markov present a potential salary cap headache for Canadiens management next season. I’m guessing Gomez gets bought out if there’s a one-time-only, penalty-free buyout period in the next CBA, or demoted to the minors to clear his cap hit, provided that’s still allowed in the next CBA.

THE STRANGEST ONE OF ALL: Scotty Wazz presents, in today’s installment of “Absurd Goalie Monday”, former Anaheim Mighty Duck netminder Guy Hebert.