Ilya Kovalchuk on injury questions: “I’m good”

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.

“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.

Bruins might face elimination without Bergeron, Corvo


If the 2012 playoffs weren’t already turning into the Summer of Upsets, then it would be truly shocking that the Boston Bruins being down 3-2 in their series with the Washington Capitals. Either way, the defending champs face possible elimination on Sunday, and they might just need to survive without underrated two-way center Patrice Bergeron and offensive blueliner Joe Corvo, according to Joe Haggerty.

Here’s Haggerty on what might have caused Bergeron’s issues.

Patrice Bergeron left the ice early in his second shift of the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin hit near the offensive blueline that appeared to catch the B’s center in the head. Bergeron waved B’s trainer Donnie DelNegro off when he attempted to approach the center on the bench following the collision, but the two-way pivot only played one more shift for the rest of the contest.

Bergeron looked sluggish and labored during the only shift he hopped out for as a right wing, and he once again ended the shift early when things obviously didn’t feel right.

The Capitals scored two goals in the third period while Bergeron was essentially out of action, so containing Washington could be that much tougher without that Selke-caliber forward.

Corvo isn’t necessarily known for being a great defensive stopper, but losing him likely wouldn’t help matters for the Bruins, either. Haggerty describes Corvo’s potential injury situation, too:

Joe Corvo went down in the second period after absorbing a Mike Green slapper to the knee that sent him down to the ice, and resulted in a goal when Corvo couldn’t return to the play. The refs didn’t blow the whistle when Corvo originally went down, and it essentially created a 5-on-4 situation when the B’s defenseman couldn’t get back into the play.

The Bruins and Capitals will face off in Game 6 at 3 pm ET on Sunday, so there isn’t exactly a lot of time for either player to recover. Hockey players are known to fight through injuries in the playoffs, but we’ll see if Corvo or Bergeron can fight through it.

Panthers GM surprised Jason Garrison missed Game 4

It’s unlikely that he’d top Zdeno Chara’s record-breaking blasts, but if the All-Star Game’s hardest shooting competition drew in the hardest shooters period (All-Star or not), Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison probably would’ve been invited. The hard-shooting blueliner already has a playoff goal on 10 shots and scored 16 during the regular season, so he might be missed in Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils.

His absence wasn’t an expected thing, either. Garrison is reportedly dealing with a lower-body injury, but Panthers GM Dale Tallon told George Richards he was “surprised as ‘you’ were” about the unhealthy scratch.

Garrison isn’t a household name by any means, but great power play point depth is a big reason why the Panthers are in the playoffs. The hard-shooting 27-year-old had one of the man advantage tallies that made Florida a perfect 3-for-3 on Tuesday.

Assuming this is an injury and isn’t an internal matter, the Panthers have to hope they’ll have Garrison back on Saturday – whether they’re up 3-1 or tied 2-2 in the series.

Coyotes won’t have Martin Hanzal in Game 3


Martin Hanzal’s overtime Game 1-winning tip might have been his introduction for many casual fans. More regular followers of the Phoenix Coyotes probably know that Hanzal is a big center who can be a big headache for opposing teams’ top forwards, so losing him for Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks could be a big – if subtle – loss.

Sarah McLellan reports that he’s an unhealthy scratch as the series shifts to the United Center tonight. (The game’s just about to start on CNBC, by the way.)

Hanzal is dealing with a lower-body injury. It’s unclear how severe it is (or in typical playoff fashion, what exactly it is), but it must be serious if the large pivot cannot play.

With both games ending in overtime out in Phoenix, every little edge is needed. Being without Hanzal might just prove costly for the Coyotes. Then again, Dave Tippett’s team is pretty good at facing steep odds, so this could just be nothing. (The Blackhawks will be without Andrew Shaw on their end, after all.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering … yes, Mike Smith is Phoenix’s starting goalie.

Henrik Sedin shakes off a huge hit by Dustin Brown


Twitter is abuzz with debate about whether or not the check was dirty – not to mention how late it was – but either way, Dustin Brown absolutely leveled Henrik Sedin tonight.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Naturally, the Vancouver Canucks reacted with anger toward the Los Angeles Kings’ captain, yet it was Henrik’s reaction that was the most surprising. Just moments after needing help off the ice after that colossal blow, Henrik returned to the Canucks bench. He played around the midway point of the second period, yet it remains to be seen if his long-term outlook will be as positive.

In a strange twist, both Sedin twins could very well need some time in “The Quiet Room.”