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Kovalchuk could return Friday

by Shawn P. Roarke / NHL.com
TORONTO -- Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk will not play Thursday night against the New York Rangers, according to Atlanta General Manager Don Waddell.
 
"He's not going to play tomorrow, but hopefully for Friday," Waddell said at the NHL General Manager Meetings.
 
After Thursday's road game against the Rangers, Atlanta hosts the Los Angeles Kings Friday. If Kovalchuk is unable to go Friday, his next opportunity will be Sunday's home game against Edmonton.
 
Kovalchuk has been practicing for the past few days, but left Wednesday's practice early. He was expected to miss three-to-five weeks after suffering a broken foot on Oct. 24, but has recovered faster than expected.
 
Kovalchuk had 9 goals in eight games before the injury and he still leads the Thrashers in goals despite missing the past six games. Atlanta has gone 3-3 in the absence of Kovalchuk, the team's captain.

Impressive rookie forward Evander Kane's may also miss Thursday's game because of a foot injury.
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