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Kovalchuk misses practice, still expected to play Tuesday

Feb 17, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk takes the puck to the goal during a shootout against Slovakia in overtime of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Kovalchuck scored the winning goal to give Russia the 1-0 win. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez ) AP

The availability of Ilya Kovalchuk has been a question mark going into Russia’s qualification game against Norway on Tuesday.

Kovalchuk sustained an injury in the second period of Sunday’s contest against Slovakia, but he managed to return before the conclusion of the contest and found the back of the net during the shootout.

Adding to the concern though was the fact that Kovalchuk missed Monday’s practice. After the skate, Russia head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov attempted to put those fears to rest by specifying that Kovalchuk was held out for precautionary reasons. He went on to say that the 30-year-old forward will be in the lineup against Norway, according to Puck Daddy and TSN’s Dmitry Chesnokov.

It’s not clear what will happen to the Russian lines if that changes. Viktor Tikhonov took Kovalchuk’s place on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Radulov, but it’s likely that Tikhonov was just keeping the spot warm given that he also filled in on the top power-play unit. The Russians haven’t used Tikhonov yet in the 2014 Olympics.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Probably attended a ‘friendly’ meeting with Putin who showed him a video of the glories of Siberia.

    (sorry for the blomfeld single quotes)

    • blomfeld - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      it’s okay friend, feel free to borrow my literary style ! … :)

      seriously friend, the people I’m ‘really’ concerned for are the Washington Capital fans … because God forbid, if Russia fails to win Gold, then you just know that Ovechkin is going to be in very ‘grave’ trouble … you have to remember that in addition to being a former KGB interrogation officer, Putin is also an accomplished ‘Vodka League’ hockey player himself … and so he’s going to be taking whatever happens very personally, which in turn means that Ovechkin’s own continued ‘well-being’ is hanging in the balance here … :(

  2. nj666 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    he probably quit. its his thing.

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