Alex Kovalev rips the current state of the NHL and it's coaches.

Harsh words from one of the league's great players.-

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It's one thing when fans of the National Hockey League or members of the media level criticism at the league for the quality of product that they put on the ice, but that kind of criticism suddenly becomes much more powerful when it's uttered by one of the league's former players.

This week during an interview with Russian sports media outlet Rsport, former NHL star Alex Kovalev made some very harsh comments regarding the current state of the game. Although Kovalev did not come right out and state this explicitly, there was definitely a sense that he was disgusted by what he saw on the ice and found the current NHL product difficult to watch.

"The National Hockey League is so uninteresting, you can only watch a few teams. {The passing game} is almost gone, just running around alone. I remember when I took my kids to the Rangers game, I just could not believe my eyes. For 40 seconds the puck was on the ice for 10 seconds. The rest of the time it went up to the boards, on top, throw it away, throw it away, throw it away. I was sitting there wondering what the game was turning into."

It's damning criticism from a guy who played over 1300 games in the NHL and was the captain of one of arguably the most historic franchise in the history of the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens. The sad part is that there will likely be a significant segment of NHL fans who will find themselves agreeing with Kovalev. For better or worse the product on the ice is not what it used to be although I would argue that the NHL's crack down on clutching and grabbing as well as more recently it's crackdown on slashing have allowed the game to open up more. Kovalev however seems to be focusing his criticisms towards the head coaches' in the NHL, believing that they are the primary cause of what he considers a lackluster style of play.

"Much of it comes from the coaches who are afraid of players' mistakes, that these mistakes will affect them. Sometimes it's clear that the player has the ability, but he is forved to throw the puck into the zone, and then chase and hit. For ne, it's important to let the player open up, give him work to do without putting handcuffs on his hands."

Kovalev is confident in fact that the coaches are responsible for the trend that he despises because he says that he experience it himself when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins under head coach Dan Bylsma.

"I remember when I came to Pittsburgh for the second time, head coach Dan Bylsma would look at me saying: "Do that one more time and I'll Bench you." I always said that I will not throw the puck into the zone, if I can bring it there. So, having experienced this myself, I understand why NHL hockey is the way it is now."

Do you agree with the former NHLer? Or is his bias as a former player leading him to place too much blame on coaching?