After enduring a somewhat excessive round of criticism while struggling last season, Ilya Kovalchuk had a slightly under-the-radar bit of brilliance this year, scoring 83 points. While Adam Henrique and David Clarkson have given the New Jersey Devils a little more offensive depth in 2011-12, the buck still tends to stop at Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. After being shut out 3-0 to fall behind 3-2 in a first round series with the Florida Panthers, there are rumors swirling about Kovalchuk’s health.
Tom Gulitti presents the arguments.
- When asked about playing hurt, Kovalchuk simply said: “I’m good.”
- To bolster that claim, Kovalchuk played 25 minutes. As crucial as he is for the Devils, that certainly doesn’t indicate that he’s hurt too badly.
- That last point might be the key one. While Kovy was short with the subject, New Jersey coach
- Peter DeBoer gave an interestingly noncommittal response.
“You know what? Everybody this time of year is dealing with stuff,” DeBoer said.
So is Kovalchuk injured? We’re unlikely to find out the exact answer until whenever the Devils’ postseason ends. The answer seems to be “not enough” for now, though.