Down 3-1 to Dinamo Riga, SKA St. Petersburg had their goalie on the bench for the extra attacker late in their game on September 29. SKA had come off a 6-3 win of Jokerit three days earlier, so this result was a bit of a surprise. There was still time to mount a comeback, though, but time was running out. SKA had their best players on the ice, including Ilya Kovalchuk, and the team needed a goal. With the puck dumped into SKA's zone, Kovalchuk went to retrieve it, and then the following happened.
Oops. Ilya Kovalchuk's no-look pass finds Riga's Gunars Skvorcovs wide-open in the slot, and he buries it for the fourth Riga goal with just 25 seconds to play, killing any chance of a St. Petersburg comeback. The photo up above is Kovalchuk giving himself hell on the bench after he made that boneheaded pass.
Despite having one of the most talented teams on paper, SKA St. Petersburg finds themselves sitting in eighth-place in the KHL's Western Conference tied with Dinamo Minsk, but having played two more games than the Belarusian club. Hot on their heels are HC Sochi who also have two games in-hand on SKA and are only two points back of St. Petersburg. Needless to say, the St. Petersburg club needs to get its act together if it wants to remain a threat for the Gagarin Cup.
Ilya Kovalchuk, on the other hand, just needs to play better. Forget the no-look back passes and move the puck up the ice quickly. I'm pretty sure he knows he did wrong in this case, but he'll get no assists for the effort on Skvorcovs' goal. As of right now, Kovalchuk isn't even in the top-ten in KHL scoring.
After watching the highlight above, maybe he does need to get his act together after all.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!