Ilya Kovalchuk Injury: Updates on New Jersey Devils Star's Shoulder

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 23, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 23:  Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils follows through on a shot in the second period against the Florida Panthers at the Prudential Center on March 23, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

New Jersey Devils star winger Ilya Kovalchuk left Saturday evening's game against the Florida Panthers and could miss some time after suffering a right shoulder injury.


UPDATE: Saturday, April 20 at 10:55 a.m. ET by Mike Chiari

After missing nearly a month with a right shoulder injury, New Jersey Devils star winger Ilya Kovalchuk will finally return to the lineup on Saturday against the Florida Panthers, according to Tom Gulitti of The Record.

The Devils have struggled mightily since Kovalchuk got injured and are currently eight points behind the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with five games to play. They aren't officially eliminated yet, but they're certainly close, so Kovalchuk's return may not make a difference.



Update: Friday, April 19, at 1:15 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

It sounds as though Ilya Kovalchuk is finally back on the road to a return in the very near future, as the talented winger told reporters today that his shoulder is feeling better than it has in a while, according to Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger


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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 17, at 2:10 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Despite reports to the contrary, Ilya Kovalchuk will not travel to Philadelphia with the Devils, per coach Pete DeBoer (via Tom Gulitti of The Record).

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UPDATE: Tuesday, April 16, at 3:28 p.m. ET by Eric Ball
While Kovalchuk is still not ready to return, significant progress is being made according to Tom Gulitti of The Record:


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UPDATE: Friday, April 12, at 11:26 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Tom Gulitti of The Record, passes along this quote from Peter DeBoer, who hints at a potential return in the near future:


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UPDATE: Monday, Mar. 25, at 1:10 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Star-Ledger's Rich Chere has the latest on Ilya Kovalchuk following the Devils star's MRI:


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UPDATE: Sunday, Mar. 24, at 1:55 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Discouraging news for Devils fans as Ilya Kovalchuk could be out of action for at least one month due to his shoulder injury, according to The Record's Tom Gulitti.


---End of update--- staff writer Mike Morreale first broke the news on Twitter:


Kovalchuk led with his right shoulder when he lost his bearings and slammed into the boards as he skated below the goal line, according to a report by


UPDATE: Saturday, March 23 at 10:38 p.m. ET by Mike Hoag

Tom Gulitti of The Record updated us on Kovalchuk's status following the game (via Twitter):


Devils manager Peter DeBoer's take is expected after the the team's star slammed hard into the boards on Saturday night. Other Devils are going to need to step up with Kovalchuk sidelined temporarily. Their postseason chances are still looking good, but an extended absence for him could definitely hurt them in the short term.

The Devils have already been struggling to find the back of the net, and Kovalchuk is one of their biggest offensive weapons.

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The 29-year-old Kovalchuk, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, has registered 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points in 31 games thus far in the lockout-shortened season.

New Jersey will certainly be hoping the fall was nothing serious. Unfortunately, indications are that Kovalchuk was in extreme pain as he skated to the locker room.

Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti of The Record offered a grim comparison for Kovalchuk's unfortunate situation, citing center Jacob Josefson's situation from last season:

The Devils are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, but losing a dynamic player like Kovalchuk will make maintaining that position quite difficult. For a team that struggles to generate offense as it is, the loss of its second-leading scorer would be devastating.

Ageless veteran Patrick Elias will continue to have to carry the load for the Devils, as will dynamic centers David Clarkson and Adam Henrique, the latter of whom finds the net on 21.7 percent of his shots.

If the Devils have any hope of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals and avenging last year's 4-2 series loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Kovalchuk ideally needs to be involved.