Puck Daddy - NHL

Even in season-ending injury, Alexei Kovalev is an enigma.

There's no candy-coating the fact that he's been a source of frustration for Ottawa Senators fans this season, with 18 goals and 31 assists crushed under the weight of a free-agent contract.

His offensive game has suffered droughts that would make the Sahara look like Seattle: Those 12 pointless games and a minus-12 after the Olympic break is one of the putrid stretches for any significant NHL player this season.

Overall, he has two points since March 1. Two. The same number as Colton Orr(notes).

Yet because he's Kovalev, the "completely torn ACL" in his left knee -- putting him on the shelf for up to four months -- creates a "what if" for an Ottawa Senators team entrenched in the No. 5 seed in the East.

He's a playoff performer: 98 points in 116 career games, including about a point-per-game pace in his last four appearances.

Can the Senators win without Kovalev? Well, for the sake of context, they were 5-7-1 in March when he stunk and 10-5 in January when he scored 17 points. But that Kovalev has been M.I.A. since March.

At the very least, it'll be refreshing to see Kovalev finally achieve some consistency this season.

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