“We definitely did more shots and a little battle there at the end. It feels good, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Kovalchuk said.It's good to see that he's progressing, but the slap shot thing bugs me for reasons I'll explain below. As for when he'll return, Kovy is definitely out tonight and was skeptical when asked about Friday's game against Ottawa.
But no one-timers or full-force slap shots.
“Not yet. I shot harder for sure today. And when I was skating and did the sprints, it didn’t bother me at all, so that’s a positive thing,” he said.
“I don’t know. We’re going to decide with the doctors and coaches,” he said, “but I don’t think so.”Both Pete DeBoer and Kovalchuk are on record as saying they won't wait until Kovy is 100 percent before returning him to the lineup, which is both bad and good. Obviously, the Devils are desperate for him to return. Much like with Martin Brodeur, the Devils simply look and play (effort-wise) like a different team with Kovalchuk on the bench and on the ice. The problem, though, is that Kovalchuk's slap shot (and shot in general) might be his best attribute. He can score from pretty much anywhere with absurd power and precision and I wonder how weakened his shot will be by this injury. Kovy seems very reluctant to put any sort of pressure or power behind his shots right now and with the Devils likely hoping for a return next week, we could be looking at a very troublesome situation. Any percentage or amount of Kovalchuk is good for this Devils team, but how much he'll be able to help remains very much in doubt. As a matter of fact, I wonder whether the Devils might be better off moving him off the point on the power play once he does return.