One of the best pound for pound fighters in the league, and maybe the most fun to watch. He had a really great, original style for hockey fights that probably came from his Dad being a boxing golden gloves champion. He was willing to fight anyone, including guys that were eight inches taller and sixty pounds heavier. He had some ability to be a fourth line energy guy too. Just a guy who played a big game in an average sized body.
I’m not going to speculate on what happened to Ripper, but I think a lot of Canuck fans assumed he had some sort of personal demon that resulted in his multiple leaves of absence from the team. He was the kind of guy you rooted for to overcome whatever it was that was standing in his way, and I think a lot of Canucks fans were going to be rooting for him on the Jets, or on any other team he played for.
So yesterday the arbitrator made his decision and sided with the NHL. So Kovalchuk is a free agent again. Also the arbitrator is apparently investigating other front-end loaded contracts like Luongo, Pronger, Hossa and Savard.