Thrasher's Outlook Without Kovalchuk Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

Peter BojarinovAnalyst IOctober 26, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 22:  Evander Kane #9 of the Atlanta Thrashers warms up before facing the Washington Capitals at Philips Arena on October 22, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

News has broke that Kovalchuk is out with a broken bone in his right foot and will be sidelined for roughly four weeks.

With Kovalchuk out at least four weeks or longer, Atlanta will have to, for the first time, play without their superstar sniper for a long duration.

Kovalchuk has missed no more then four games any season his entire career since the Atlanta Thrashers drafted him.

It'll be interesting to see the Thrash play without Kovy; he is the prototypical Russian superstar .

He's fricken amazing with the puck, and probably has the best shot in the league.

The opposing team has to just cover him on the powerplay, and try their best to cover his speed in five-on-five play.

He’s never shown he can’t play without the puck, and his defense has been nothing to be proud of.

I bet if the Thrash play without Ilya, they might be a better team.

It's like the Mats Sundin situation, back when Toronto had a hockey team. They had a great team, and when Sundin did get injured—which was rare, but it happened a few times—the rest of the team played better and the younger players picked up the slack.

I can see Atlanta doing the same thing, and the best thing about is, they'll work towards a very different system.

On the powerplay, they'll use everyone, and not waste time looking to give Kovy the shot.

Guys like Antropov, Slava Kozlov, and Todd White will get better chances to score, and more obviously to shoot.

Then five-on-five, with Kovalchuk, they usually have one less back-checker, or not covering that defenseman on the point. Now they'll have that each and every game.

The most intriguing fact is maybe seeing Evander Kane play on the top line; he's actually been one of the best Thrashers this early season. If given the opportunity to play on the top line, which means more ice time, and playing with room-making dish-master Nik Antropov and highlight reeler Maxim Afinogenov, he'll get an even better chance to show what he can do.

This as well might give Bryan Little a chance to shine. He scored over 30 goals last year, and we've yet to see that from him this year. Moving him back to the Little White Russian line was a great coaching move. I think he should have started the season on there; he’ll also get more ice-time and more opportunities.

Though you could put Little back on the top line now, with Kane, cause Kane is the type of player that does go to the net, and can finish.

All in all, a Kovalchuk injury is a horrible thing, but not might be the worst thing that can happen, and can actually make the team better.

Playing without Kovalchuk for a while,might make this Thrasher team stronger and more experienced, and this is a good thing for the future of this franchise.