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KovalWatch: Keeping A Close Eye on New Jersey's Russian Weapon, Game 2 Tonight


Guest Irishjim
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Alright, so it's been speculated that New Jersey's

$100-Million

forward, Ilya Kovalchuk, has been nursing an injury for some time now. Yesterday the 29yr old left wing was

reported

as receiving "therapy", and was not with the team.

That's it. "Therapy". There wasn't anymore clarification than that.

For all we know, Kovalchuk was parallel on a Shrink's couch blabbering on and on about his mother issues, his struggle with dendrophilia, or his pent-up depression increased over the last two years from having to lock his car doors and carry a firearm on his way to the Prudential Center.

Hey, fearing that you're going to get mugged and left for dead in a roadside ditch on your way to work everyday adds stress. And stress is a powerful force as it builds up more and more over time.

But experts believe this is not the sort of therapy the team was talking about.

Gulitti's best guess is that he's being bothered by something in the
lower back
. Something just doesn't seem right. ~
CBS Sports

Tom Gulitti is a Devils beat writer. He's like the Panotch of New Jersey, only he doesn't resemble an evil-looking yard gnome sprung to life in some ****** Stephen King novel like Tim Panaccio does.

So according to Gulitti, Kovalchuk's suffering from pain in his lower back region, and it was physical therapy he received yesterday in his absence from his teammates.

The lower back is the centermost part of all your muscles. It is literally used in every movement you make, and affects each and every move you make. From getting out of bed, all the way to following through on a 100mph slap shot.

If it is in pain, believe me, so is the rest of you.

Low back pain may be dull, burning, or sharp, covering a broad area or confined to a single point. It is often triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine. ~
WebMD

There are three types of severity when we're discussing back pain; Acute, Recurrent and Chronic. Considering Ilya Kovalchuk remains to skate in each game (since reported to having the problem), let's assume the severity level is just Acute, which is defined as:

....lasting less than 3 months. Most people gain relief within 4 to 6 weeks of home treatment. ~
WebMD

Treatment -- believe it or not -- is remaining active, so that the strained muscles or ligaments don't tighten up, which could potentially lead to making the injury worse. So far there's been no sign of Ilya being scratched tonight from Game 2's active roster. In fact, when asked about the rumor, Devils captain Zach Parise told the media, "He'll be alright."

Will he be alright? I don't know. I'm not a doctor.

But what's apparent is the fact Ilya Kovalchuk skated out of the rink with not a single shot on goal in Game 1's loss to our Philadelphia Flyers. He had a secondary assist, but so could anyone with a shred of motor ability in their arm(s).

Though the badgering injury did not seem to take much away from his TOI stat.

Throughout the 2011-12 regular season, Kovalchuk (to no one's surprise) led the Devils in average Time-on-Ice at 24-minutes and 21-seconds per game.

In Game 1 of the EC SemiFinals, Kovalchuk skated for a total of 21:20.

Not a dramatic drop off, but that is not what concerns most Devils staff and fans. Again, it's his goose egg in the SOG department. It's a rarity with the superstar player.

CBSSports.com even said the last time Ilya had gone an entire contest without sending a single puck on net is back in November, 2011.

Kovie's got to be playing with some personal agony in his game. And if it's the lower back, then that means it's weakened his legs and skate-strides. It's weakened his wind-up on shots. It hurts to pass, to hit, and -- more importantly -- to BE hit.

This is where the pure competitor within us becomes a factor.

If Kovalchuk (New Jersey's best offensive weapon) is truly hurt, then the Flyers must use it to their advantage. We must physically attack Ilya every chance we get. We have to bang him, we have to check him, and we have to unmercilessly go after him to keep him off his game, and weaken him even more.

Sounds barbaric, but it must be done.

Nothing personal. This is business.

That Cup is business. No, scratch that, it's more than business. And as long as it's legal, I want Kovalchuk crunched so hard by a hit that it feels like he's got a Mini Cooper parked on his lower back.

It's been too long. 1975? Too, too long. And if our adversary's greatest ammunition is vulnerable, then you strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.

Tonight, 7:30, on CBC, NBCSN, RDS.

Game 2.

Don't miss a second.

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