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Ilya Kovalchuk continues to insist that he’s healthy

Apr 29, 2012, 8:37 PM EDT

kovalchukgetty Getty Images

After a slightly under-the-radar (and sterling) bounce-back regular season, there’s a general feeling that something isn’t quite right with New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk. Some believe that he’s fighting through a groin injury. Others, such as Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti, hypothesize that it’s a “lower-back issue,” but Kovalchuk’s response to questions about his health was as terse as ever.

Kovalchuk was in the medical room for a while after the game and walked slowly through the locker room to go get dressed before returning to talk to the media.

When asked (for like the 20th time) if he is healthy, Kovalchuk replied, “Yeah” and then walked away.

To some, Kovalchuk’s zero shots on goal in Game 1 ranks as a red flag. It’s not like he hasn’t been firing away in the playoffs, however – he had 25 in seven games against the Florida Panthers – but the Devils have to hope that he’ll send more rubber at the net.

Sure, he collected an assist tonight, but his dangerous shot is what makes him a $100 million man. Without that, he might become a lot like Rob Gronkowski in the Super Bowl: a well-paid decoy.

Kovalchuk might not come out and admit that he’s hurt, but if the Flyers sniff that out, he’ll become that much less effective – whether he’s a decoy or not.

  1. balewsquare - Apr 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    So he’s just sucking?

  2. biffnasty - Apr 29, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    100 million dollar mistake. Nice work Lou

  3. mclovinhockey - Apr 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    For 100 million you could get 2 bryzgolovs….
    He is hurt, playing hurt could cost them the series. Unless he is waiting for a moment in like game 7 to just burst out and take 100 shots.

  4. martysbetter - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Its blatantly obvious something is wrong with him, where he would normally take the puck through the neutral zone and find that extra gear to gallop past defenders — he dumps it in. He’s normally double-shifted and out there for the entirety of the powerplay for the Devils, I didn’t even notice him out on the ice today.

    Its pretty apparent to anyone who watches the Devils on a regular basis that he’s nursing an injury, he hasn’t gone full-speed once since the playoffs started.

  5. phillyphan83 - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    it doesn’t matter

  6. sheckyrimshot - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    sounds like somebody’s got a bad case of the Couturiers.

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