Ilya Kovalchuk

Kovalchuk: “Pretty sure I’ll play tomorrow”

The bad news out of Boston was Ilya Kovalchuk was sidelined for the fifth consecutive game. The good news is that he’s likely to lace ‘em up tomorrow night in Buffalo. Sometimes, it’s all about the little things in life.

There was some optimism around the team that Kovalchuk could have appeared in tonight’s game against the Bruins. He took the ice in today’s morning skate and participated in warm-ups immediately before the game. But when a decision was finally made, Kovalchuk was directed to the press box instead of the visitors’ bench.

To keep with the positive theme, nothing happened during the warm-ups that would be considered a setback. “It was the coach’s decision,” Kovalchuk told Rich Chere from the Star-Ledger. “It’s always the coach’s decision. But I’m pretty sure I’ll play tomorrow.”

Even though he’s not on the ice, Devils fans have to be happen that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. New Jersey is 3-1 since Kovalchuk has been sidelined with is lower-body injury, but getting an elite sniper back into the lineup is always a welcomed addition.

Then again, if they can continue to win without him, the organization can continue to take their time with their $100 million man.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?