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At the Rink blog

Kovalchuk improving, doubtful on return this week

Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Kovalchuk improving, doubtful on return this week

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will miss his eighth straight game Wednesday when his team faces the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2), he did admit to feeling better during his second practice with the team in as many days.

Kovalchuk, however, hasn't put a timetable on his return to the lineup.

"I don't know [when I'll be back]," Kovalchuk said. "That's what we'll decide with doctors and coaches, but I don't think I'll be back [Friday against the Ottawa Senators]."

Kovalchuk said he felt a lot better at practice Wednesday and was able to shoot a little more.

"We definitely took more shots and there were some battles in the end, so it felt good," he said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction.

"I haven't been able to unload the big one-timers, but I just tried to shoot harder [Wednesday]. When skating and doing sprints, it didn't bother me at all and that's a positive thing."

Kovalchuk, who is second on the team with 27 points, including 10 goals, said he will continue speaking to his trainers and team doctors regularly.

"They are always friendly conversations [with the trainers]," Kovalchuk said with a grin. "But, for sure, I want to be back as soon as I can to help the team wherever I can to win the games because this is a crucial moment of the season. Like guys have been saying, they are fun games to play in and for us the playoffs start [Wednesday], so it's a huge game against a good opponent."

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff