Tag:

Ilya Kovalchuk

This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Even though the New Jersey Devils are no longer playing as team, some Devils are still playing competitive hockey.

The IIHF World Championships are happening abroad-- in Finland and Sweden, in fact. There are two Devils apiece on Teams USA and Russia and one on Team Sweden.

Ilya Kovalchuk posted three shots on goal in 23:19 of ice time in Team Russia's stunning 2-1 loss to France on Wednesday.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, HENRIK TALLINDER, IIHF World Championships, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Team Canada, Team Russia, Team Sweden
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Even though the Devils? 2013 season is over, we can still look back at some great moments in New Jersey?s playoff history.

On May 8?

1988- Officials boycott game 4 of the Wales Conference finals between the Devils and Boston Bruins, after the NHL did not suspend New Jersey coach Jim Schoenfeld for his postgame outburst at referee Don Koharski.

Tags: Boston Bruins, DAVID CLARKSON, David Maley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Arnett, Jim Schoenfeld, Martin Brodeur, Notes, Pat Verbeek, PETR SYKORA, Philadelphia Flyers, Tom Kurvers, Toronto Maple Leafs
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Even though the New Jersey Devils are no longer playing as team, some Devils are still playing competitive hockey.

The IIHF World Championships are happening abroad-- in Finland and Sweden, in fact. There are two Devils apiece on Teams USA and Russia.

Those squads happened to square off Tuesday, with Ilya Kovalchuk gaining a goal and an assist in Russia's 5-3 win over the Americans?at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Tags: IIHF World Championships, Ilya Kovalchuk, Notes, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Team Russia, Team USA
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With the Devils not being part of the playoffs this year, it's time for everyone second-rate tournament -- the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! So which Devils will be carrying the flag on their backs this month?

Via Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger:

Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter will both play for Team USA in the world championships in Finland and Sweden.

Ilya Kovalchuk will play for Russia, in the same group as the U.S.

Tags: ANDY GREENE, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, News, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta
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The New York Rangers looked like they had something to play for on Saturday afternoon.

The Devils did not.

New Jersey ended its disappointing campaign with a flat, uninspired effort in a 4-0 loss to New York at Madison Square Garden.

Tags: Adam Larsson, ANDY GREENE, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Peter Harrold, Post Game, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan
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I got a lot of postgame info last night. Most of it I used in Postgame Thoughts, yet some spilled over into today.

Here are some leftovers from the Devils' 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For whatever reason, the arena seemed exceedingly quiet until Travis Zajac's second-period goal.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, DAVID CLARKSON, Ilya Kovalchuk, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Notes, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Ryan Carter, Sidney Crosby, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Around The Links, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Devils obviously will not be playing postseason hockey this year.

Yet, somehow they still managed to claim the season series from the Eastern Conference's top team.

New Jersey came from 2-0 down to send its home crowd out with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at Prudential Center.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, Brenden Morrow, DAVID CLARKSON, Eric Gelinas, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Cooke, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Postgame Thoughts, Scott Stevens, Steve Sullivan
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should've played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won't drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it's possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for? tonight's game, some thoughts...

Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight's win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We've seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It's been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from "woe is us" moments. Tonight, though, they didn't need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy's response, along with the the energy he's played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain's "C" next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an "A?" I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team's mindset going into next season. Food for thought.

Tags: Alex Urbom, Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Prust, BRYCE SALVADOR, Canadiens, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Habs, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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After Ilya Kovalchuk was seen wincing and flexing his shoulder Sunday, there were some questions as to whether Kovalchuk was healthy enough to play now that the Devils have been eliminated from the postseason. Lou Lamoriello put those questions to rest Monday.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/326391729131499520

I've said all I need to say about this. If he's healthy, then play him. If he's not, well, you know.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, News

The Devils were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Sunday afternoon. On Monday, Pete DeBoer was asked if he thought the Devils "deserved" to make the playoffs.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326362208365850624

He doesn't come out and say the phrase "we deserved to make the playoffs," but it's pretty easy to read his meaning. I've never been a fan of players, coaches or fans talking about what was deserved or what should've happened. The fact is the Devils didn't make the playoffs. Obviously, injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk played a big part in that. The two missed nearly two months combined -- a brutal thing to handle in a regular season, let alone a shortened one. However, this team was built poorly to begin with and both Lou Lamoriello and DeBoer mismanaged it at different points of the season. From the Stefan Matteau situation to not signing a veteran scorer before the season began, there were multiple missteps from a roster point of view. Would the Devils have made the playoffs in an 82-game season? Maybe. Maybe they would've overcome the injury issues and had more time to find some secondary scoring, but there's always the possibility the Flyers and Hurricanes would've had time to turn it around. There's no "deserve" when it comes to qualifying for the postseason. We saw 45 games worth of hockey from this Devils team in a 48-game season and they simply weren't good enough.

Tags: Analysis, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer

Links: Twitter | NHL.com recap

A lifeless start, a couple of bad penalty calls and suddenly the Devils were frustrated, losing and on their way to playoff elimination. All in all, a sad but fitting end (as far as playoff chances go) to a season that was flawed from the get-go. Some thoughts...

Two things: When you combine a lack or energy with some questionable officiating, you usually get one of two results. Sometimes the team will take on an "us against the world" mentality, snap out of their funk and go on a tear the rest of the game. That didn't happen today. Instead, the Devils went further into their shell and seemingly quit on the game and essentially their season. Even Martin Brodeur admitted that he felt his teammates gave up when things didn't go their way. The Devils basically mailed in the first period, negating to forecheck or apply any sort of offensive pressure on the Rangers. It was almost like the Devils came out assuming they were already eliminated from the playoffs. While it was a mathematical eventuality, it's still disconcerting to hear players after the game talk about how they knew it was just a matter of time. When you hear stuff like that, you can understand why you get a first period like the Devils had today.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts
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Tags: Around The Links, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, Stephen Gionta

Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

If you didn't watch the first 10 minutes of today's game, you'd think it was one of the Devils' best efforts all season. Despite that (very) sub-par start, the Devils once again managed to "turn it on" after Pete DeBoer's timeout and just dominated the Panthers for the next 50 minutes. Some thoughts...

Wake-up call: The Pete DeBoer First Period Timeout should be sold in pharmacies across the country. It's best wake-up call I think I've ever seen. Why the Devils continue to need it -- especially in the throes of a desperate playoff chase -- is beyond me, but it certainly is the magical elixir this roster covets. The Devils came out painfully slow and were lacking any sort of energy. The Panthers were skating circles around them, getting to every loose puck. Both of Florida's goals were a result of out-efforting New Jersey, but that changed as soon as DeBoer called his infamous timeout. You could see him rotating his hand, signaling the Devils needed to pick up the energy. This wasn't one of those "settle down" timeouts. This was the "well-time expletive" version and it worked. Boy did it work. It took a few minutes but before long New Jersey was all over Florida, like a train that takes time to build up speed and then all of sudden is barreling down the tracks at 80 miles per hour. I know I've spent some time cracking on the Devils for their slow starts this season and their reliance on the P.D.F.P.T. (we might need a better acronym), but at this point, a win is a win is a win.

Tags: Adam Larsson, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Panthers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier
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The Devils are long shots to make the playoffs. This isn't new. Neither is Ilya Kovalchuk's ailing shoulder, which has sidelined him since March 23. There's a school of thought (championed here) that it might be best to rest Kovalchuk for the rest of the season to avoid long-term damage. Except Pete DeBoer and Kovalchuk have absolutely no interest in anything resembling a shutdown.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Although he practiced today on the fifth line with Andrei Loktionov, Krys Barch and Tom Kostopoulos and remained on the ice for extra work afterward, he sounded optimistic that he could be back playing soon.

?I felt the best so far that I felt,? Kovalchuk said. ?I feel pretty confident. I took a couple of one-timers and a little bit of contact, so it?s good.?

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
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As expected, Ilya Kovalchuk practiced with the Devils again Wednesday. After the session, Kovalchuk told reporters that he thought he could play tomorrow against the Flyers and that he would be traveling with the team. Pete DeBoer, however, disagreed with Kovy's sentiment.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/324589783282225152

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/324590650874003456

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
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https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/324240105311199233

Kovalchuk didn't play Monday and remains out with a shoulder injury. We'll update you after Wednesday's practice.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

  • The usual collection of links from New Jersey's 10th straight loss, a 2-0 defeat in Toronto (NJ.com) (NorthJersey.com) (NHL.com) (AP)
  • As NHL.com correspondent Mike Brophy points out, the Devils' and Leafs' fates have reversed this year (NHL.com)
  • According to Patrik Elias, Pete DeBoer and his staff are not to blame for New Jersey's 10-game losing streak, notes Rich Chere (NJ.com)
  • Among Tom Gulitti's notes, it appears Ilya Kovalchuk will rejoin the Devils on Thursday in Philadelphia (NorthJersey.com)
Tags: Around The Links, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) practiced with the Devils again on Saturday, when the Devils decided to devote the entire session to the power play. Kovalchuk manned his usual spot on the left point but apparently declined to unleash his signature shot from that location. There (once again) were no slapshots and Tom Gulitti didn't catch him taking any one-timers either.

With two days until the Devils' next game in Toronto on Monday, there was thought that Kovy could return against the Leafs. Kovy, however, isn't exactly feeling that idea just yet.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/323118410496106496

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

There's going to be a multitude of reactions to tonight's loss. Many will cite "puck luck" or the lack thereof. Others will claim a screwjob from the refs in the third period. Some will say Pete DeBoer isn't doing his job and needs to go, if only to shake up the team. I'll give you the first one. I may even listen to you on the second one, too. But this loss, like most of the last nine have not been the fault of one, Pete DeBoer. This loss, like this skid, is a combination of factors, but the blame resides largely on the ice. Some thoughts...

Car, meet wall: We talked about it in our pregame thread, the idea of a team struggling to score running into a very good goalie in Craig Anderson. We were concerned that if Anderson was on his game, it might not matter what the Devils did -- and after 60 minutes it was pretty clear that Anderson was going to win tonight no matter what the Devils did. Although he got a little help from the iron maidens, he did plenty of work on his own. At times, Anderson used excellent positioning to give the Devils almost nowhere to shoot. The rest of the time he flung his legs or his glove or his blocker (or the butt end of his stick) into the Devils' way (and faces). Flat out -- Anderson was a damn beast tonight. He might have missed too much time with a sprained ankle to still be considered for the Vezina, but he put on the type of late-season performance tonight that usually rockets a goalie's name to the top of the list. You know what tonight was? It was the Coyote vs. the Roadrunner. The Coyote painted the train tunnel on the rock, thinking it would fool the Roadrunner, who of course (through the miracle of dated animation) ran right through that tunnel. When the Coyote tried to follow, he either found himself flattened by a train or up against the rock. Craig Anderson was both the train and the rock tonight, sitting back and attacking and basically steamrolling a Devils team that basically gave everything it had and came up with nothing.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Senators, Sens, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Pete DeBoer announced at Friday's morning skate that neither Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) nor Bryce Salvador (wrist) will be in the lineup against the Senators tonight. Neither player participated in today's skate.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/322731344968957954

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/322731626775863298

Tags: Adam Larsson, BRYCE SALVADOR, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold
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The last time the Devils were in the midst of a lengthy losing streak, Pat Pickens and I got together and debated whether the Devils were in real trouble. Pat was a little more optimistic than me, although we both saw a chance for redemption. Then Ilya Kovalchuk got hurt and the Devils went off the rails. With eight games left, Pat and I faced a simple questions: Will the Devils make the playoffs? What follows is a quick answer to that question followed by a debate over why it happened, how to fix it and whether Pete DeBoer should be part of the solution or on the chopping block.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Debate, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Lou Lamoriello, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Stefan Matteau, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Zach Parise
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Ilya Kovalchuk practiced again Thursday but said there's still discomfort in his shoulder and he doesn't know if he'll be able to play Friday. Kovalchuk said he pushed himself harder today, even attempting some one-timers.

So basically, Kovalchuk is the Devils' Rick Ross.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk2jeE1LOn8]?Can't you imagine Kovy rocking a massive gold chain with his shirt open on the beaches of Russia? Are there beaches in Russia? Does Kovy own any Ross-like jewelry? These are the questions that keep me up in the middle of the day. Much like the question of when Kovalchuk will return to the lineup likely hounds Pete DeBoer. Kovy said after practice today that he doesn't want to play if he can't play like himself, ala taking slapshots and one-timers, which is something we talked about yesterday. If Kovy can't fire off his rocket shots, or play the puck with any real upper-body strength, then how much use is he to the Devils at this point? The Devils obviously need Kovalchuk back in the lineup, but they need a somewhat healthy version in order to benefit from his presence. I think that's something Kovalchuk has repeatedly tried to get across the last couple of days. What's interesting to me is that DeBoer seems far more open to a much more limited version of Kovalchuk being in the lineup. Is that desperation creeping in? Perhaps. It's also DeBoer realizing that Kovalchuk at 60 percent is still better than maybe every forward except Patrik Elias. Kovy said yesterday that he and the team are on the same page with his rehab, but things seemed to diverge a little bit today. I wouldn't read anything into it, but it would be incredibly fascinating to see what version of Kovalchuk gets back on the ice and at what time. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if DeBoer angles to get him back sooner than he's ready.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

This one hurts as much as a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the wrist. While the rival (and eighth-place) Rangers won in a shootout to move four points head of the Devils, New Jersey lost what felt like a microcosm of their entire season. There was the awful start, injuries to key players affecting the team and the Devils coming up just short of a tie game and a guaranteed point in overtime. Like I said, this one hurts. Some thoughts...

Fragile: It's a word Pete DeBoer used to describe his team after the Devils allowed three early goals despite the Bruins taking four penalties in five minutes AND Martin Brodeur stopping a penalty shot. It seemed a wildly appropriate description for a team that has been known to cave at the end of periods, surrender goals in bunches and lose their heads in their own zone. There's a reason why the Devils always seem to play better after DeBoer calls a timeout. He can read whether they need a kick in the ass or a moment to breathe and then suddenly, they look like a different team. It happened tonight and it's happened countless other times this season. The team's psyche is fragile and they don't have enough extraordinarily talented players on the roster to carry them through rough patches. Without Ilya Kovalchuk, it's a collection of "guys" -- some with high-quality talent, but most without. A "fragile" team combined with a limited roster is a bad combination and it's why they've gone one two very bad losing streaks this season. This is not a team that can answer the bell and fight through adversity, which is so strange since it's nearly the same team as last year's that basically made adversity its 24th man on the bench. THIS is where we're seeing and feeling the loss of Zach Parise, who's attitude, work ethic and willingness to buy in no matter what would drive the Devils through difficult times. Maybe Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique will get there some day, but they're not there now.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, Zach Parise
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Ilya Kovalchuk took part in Wednesday's morning skate and again seemed to make progress toward a return. Kovalchuk said that he pushed himself harder today than Tuesday and even got a little physical at the end of the skate.

Via Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger:

?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.

But no one-timers or full-force slap shots.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
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Ilya Kovalchuk skated with the Devils today. Some might even say he went through a full, non-contact practice. While I don't know if I'd go as far as to call it that, he definitely is making progress in his return from a shoulder injury. Here's a roundup of everything that was said or done involving Kovy at today's session.

Via Tom Gulitti's Twitter feed:

  • Kovalchuk took "soft" shots on Johan Hedberg to start today's session. He said he hasn't taken a slap shot yet because he doesn't want to push things.
  • Kovalchuk claimed not to know if he had pain in his shoulder. Seriously. He said he doesn't know.
  • Pete DeBoer said he would play Kovy at least than 100 percent but won't "put his safety in jeopardy."
  • Kovy admitted he doesn't know when he'll return but said he won't be ready to return for at least a few more days.
  • He scored on Martin Brodeur (who was really excited about Kovy's participation today) during shootout drills.
  • He didn't wear shoulder pads early in practice buy may have put them on for the second half of practice.
  • Even Kovalchuk's daughter understands how much he means to the Devils.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

Ilya Kovalchuk's absence from the Devils' lineup has been noticeable. So it was encouraging to see Kovalchuk on the ice and taking part (albeit on a limited basis) in practice Tuesday morning.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Kovalchuk took some soft wrist shots to help warm up Brodeur and Johan Hedberg.? He does not appear to be wearing shoulder pads, though, and is wearing a black practice jersey, which is usually the color the defensemen wear, and is not on any of the forward lines. In fact, he?s taken a few drills with Peter Harrold on the fourth defense pair.
It's the first time Kovy has practiced with the team since he hurt his shoulder March 23, which is obviously a positive step. It's also a very small step considering that he wasn't wearing pads, only took light shots and didn't undergo any contact. All that said, it's a sign that Kovy remains on track to return this season. Will the Devils be alive long enough to benefit? We'll see.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

Tags: Around The Links, Buffalo Sabres, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils

We've gotten fairly regular updates on the healthy status of one Ilya Kovalchuk since he went down with a shoulder injury. Although we've heard that he's "getting better" and "making progress," DeBoer recently threw cold water on his recovery, saying that he didn't think Kovalchuk would be back anytime soon. Well, DeBoer isn't exactly changing his tune, but he is a tad more optimistic.

Via Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger:

"I can tell you he's making great strides and I'm optimistic he'll be able to help us down the stretch," DeBoer said. "To me that means more than just a couple games."
Well, there's only 11 games left. So what's in between "not anytime soon" and "more than a couple games?" My guess remains the second-to-last week of the season against either Toronto or Philly, which would give Kovy six or seven games to "help" the Devils make the playoffs. And boy do they need him -- a lot. From the power play to even strength to even the penalty kill, Kovy's absence is noticeable in every single phase of the game. As I wrote last night, the Devils simply don't have finishers other than Ilya and they are in desperate need of his return. The question is whether they'll still be in position to make the playoffs by the time he gets back.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

If you can play better in a loss, I'd like to see it. OK, maybe if you scored some goals, but I'm not sure how much more the Devils could've done tonight. They dominated puck possession, neutralized the Bruins' offense and put tons of pucks on net -- all to come up with nothing. Even worse, with the way things are unfolding around the East, they've fallen out of the playoff picture for now. Not a good night, to say the least. Some thoughts...

Everything but the kitchen sink: The Devils did it all tonight. They threw pucks at the net, they deked the Bruins out of their jocks (Andy Greene says "Hi" Shawn Thornton) and they had Tuukka Rask running all around his crease. Yet, at the end of the day, it was a zero on the scoreboard. While I've spent countless posts here lamenting the Devils' lack of a finisher, never was it more apparent than tonight. Say the Devils didn't get "puck luck" and I'll say you're being naive. Tell me the Devils should've scored four times tonight and I'll respond, "But they didn't." None of this is to say the Devils played poorly in the offensive end; it was quite the opposite. The Devils did so many things well tonight, reducing the Bruins (arguably the second-best team in the East) to nothing more than partners in an optional skate. But the one thing they didn't do outweighs all the positive because this time of the year isn't about "building." Just like coffee, April is for closers, which is one thing the Devils have been woefully lacking since January 19. There's no relying on Ilya Kovalchuk's return. It's not coming "anytime soon," according to Pete DeBoer. That means "future Hall of Famer" Patrick Elias, "budding power forward" David Clarkson and promising young centers Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique need to start putting pucks into the net. Devils fans ask if this team can make a run like last season but tonight was 60 minutes worth of reasons why they might not even get the chance.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Zach Parise
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For those Devils fans hoping for a quick boost from an ahead-of-schedule return by Ilya Kovalchuk, coach Pete DeBoer has a bucket of cold water for you.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/319125546447564800

This is likely a bit of a bummer for those holding out hope that Kovy might return right at two weeks. It now seems more likely that Kovalchuk will return in the season's final two weeks, which stands to be an incredibly important stretch for the Devils. New Jersey's final 14 days include games against the Leafs, Penguins, Flyers, Panthers and Canadiens with two games against the rival Rangers. If Kovy were able to get back for that Toronto game on April 15, that would still give him enough time to get back into shape and make an impact in the Devils' lineup before the playoffs. The question, of course, is whether the Devils will be in the playoff picture or on the outside looking by that point.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

With the regular-season finale about a month away, most people's mindsets are turning toward the playoff race and what it will take to make the postseason. I will admit that my mind is also focused on the playoff push, but unfortunately I am terrible at math -- you know, being a journalist and all. Thankfully, James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail is mathematically gifted enough to put the pieces together.

Via The Globe and Mail:

With the average team now having played 32 games, or two-thirds of their season, it seems like a good time to project forward what teams will need to qualify for the playoffs.

Tags: Analysis, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside
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With the trade deadline a week away and the Devils limping toward it, there's a question of what GM/President Lou Lamoriello will do to boost the roster. Will he make a "go for it" deal with Martin Brodeur in possibly his penultimate season? Or will he sit tight and hope players returning from injury give the Devils a spark (or six)? If you take history and Lou's words to The Star-Ledger's Rich Chere on Wednesday into account, it's hard to argue with the latter.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/316995444121169922

And then there was this...

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, Buzz, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer
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New of Ilya Kovalchuk's shoulder injury hit the Devils at the worst possible time. With New Jersey fighting off somewhere between five and 37 teams for one of the final three playoff spots in the East, the Devils can hardly afford to lose their best player. After a couple days of collecting my thoughts on the injury, I decided to "empty the bag" on Kovy's absence, the power play and if it affects the Devils' trade deadline plans.

How long we talkin' here?!: Lou Lamoriello is notorious for his half answers and dodgy "day to day" injury tactics. That was no different for Kovy, who apparently has a shoulder injury but no one will say what exactly is wrong within said shoulder. Also, according to Lou, Kovy could miss two weeks or less than two weeks or possibly three weeks or maybe even four weeks. The Devils even waited seven hours after announcing the timeline to actually place Kovy on injured reserve, guaranteeing he'd miss at least seven full days. The Devils didn't even want you to definitvely know he'd miss that much time! The problem with all of this double-talk and ridiculous injury gamesmanship is that it gets old real fast. How fast? Well, keep in mind that Martin Brodeur was day to day with a minor back issue until he was on IR for a month with a pinched nerve that almost required surgery. Of course, there's also the Henrik Tallinder case and his "minor" lower-body injury that has now kept him out since March 7. And there's Dainius Zubrus, whose "minor" upper-body injury turned into wrist surgery that was only supposed to keep him out four to six weeks. Oh, wait, it's been six weeks already? And Zubrus isn't even practicing? You don't say.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Emptying The Bag, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Matt D'Agostini, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Just wanted to pass this along from today's morning skate.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/316231782364233728

As I said last night, I'm guessing the Devils were holding out hope the MRI would show something more positive than the current diagnosis, which is why they waited to place him on injured reserve. As of right now, Kovy's likely return date is somewhere between April 14 and April 21.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

I never thought I'd write that headline, but there it is. At today's morning skate in Ottawa, none other than Matt D'Agostini has been bumped up to right wing on the Devils' top line alongside Andrei Loktionov and Adam Henrique. The rest of today's forward lines and defensive pairings:

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/316211041069592577

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/316211269663334400

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lineup Changes, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils
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  • Ilya Kovalchuk was placed on IR and will miss two to four weeks with a right shoulder injury... (NJ.com)
  • ...but newly-acquired forward Matt D'Agostini feels this is opportunity with Kovalchuk on the shelf (NJ.com)
  • The Penguins acquired ANOTHER top-six forward Sunday when they acquired Brenden Morrow from Dallas (NHL.com)
  • The Rangers, Islanders and Flyers all lost Sunday. Naturally, Pittsburgh won (NHL.com)
Tags: Around The Links, Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars, Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins

Well, it was only a matter of time. The Devils placed Ilya Kovalchuk on injured reserve Sunday night after announcing he would miss two to four weeks with a shoulder injury earlier in the day.

The Devils didn't make a corresponding move, meaning they now have an empty spot on the roster. Henrik Tallinder will likely be activated at some point this week and Alexei Ponikarovsky, who was retroactively put on IR today, is eligible to be activated Wednesday.

We suspected the Devils might wait to IR Kovy until they got results of the MRI, which he was undergoing at the time of Lou Lamoriello's presser earlier this afternoon -- not that we're likely to find out the results of that test. We'll have an overall piece on the impact of Kovy's injury on the Devils as a whole and their possible trade deadline plans tomorrow.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, News

Ilya Kovalchuk lost his edge and went hard into the boards Saturday night. He got up and was in immediate pain, skating over the bench while clutching his shoulder. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello addressed the media Sunday afternoon regarding Kovalchuk's injury and said the Devils' franchise player won't need surgery but will miss at least two to four weeks.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/315872417560014849

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/315872533515739136

Tags: Breaking News, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
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  • The regular slew of links from New Jersey's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers, Martin Brodeur's 666th career victory. (NJ.com) (NorthJersey.com) (NHL.com) (AP)
  • Though New Jersey won its second straight, Ilya Kovalchuk was injured during the third period. (NJ.com)
  • Tim Sestito was also injured and left last night's game. But, Pete DeBoer reportedly said he'll be fine (Fire & Ice)
  • Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning relieved head coach Guy Boucher of his duties on Sunday (NHL.com)
Tags: Around The Links, Florida Panthers, Guy Boucher, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tim Sestito

Depending on the diagnosis of Ilya Kovalchuk's shoulder, the image above could be the lasting one for this season for the Devils. His teammates and coach had some interesting and telling quotes after the game. Here's a roundup of a few of them.

Pete DeBoer: "I think mentally coming into the season we're prepared that we?re going to have to lose key people and be able to survive it." (via Tom Gulitti on Twitter)

Tags: DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Quote
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