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On the Beat

On the Beat: Kovalchuk saga continues, Devils put streak on the line but may be without Elias, Kings Drew Doughty playing like a veteran, Forbes has team values rising, Ovechkin getting closer.

Milan Lucic has a good skate; Grier suffers groin strain; Steve Yzerman night at the Joe; Pens lose another defenceman; Jason Spezza’s close ties to Emery. These stories and more after the jump.

Today’s word from the team beat writers:

  • The Ducks organization is ranked 14th among the most valuable teams in the NHL, according to the annual study by Forbes magazine.
  • Ilya Kovulchuk is back to being a game-time decision, one that Thrashers coach John Anderson’s gut thinks will play, tonight against the Rangers.
  • Boston’s Milan Lucic said everything went well during his 30-minute twirl with his teammates after participating in his first morning skate in just under a month.
  • Sabres forward Mike Grier left Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Edmonton with 12 minutes to play with what coach Ruff called a groin injury.
  • Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is doing what other GMs have done this season as star players drop seemingly one after another – nothing.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post writes about the Avs-Blackhawks game, wonders what Sacco was thinking with Tucker, poll question on shootouts and the greatest national anthem ever.
  • Blue Jackets left wing Raffi Torres could miss a week, perhaps as many as two weeks, after getting hit in the mouth with a deflected puck in the first period last night.
  • Those coming to tonight’s game against the Canucks will get a chance to cheer the Red Wings’ newest member of the Hall of Fame, as former captain Steve Yzerman will drop the ceremonial first puck.
  • Should Edmonton experiment end with Patrick O’Sullivan on the point of the Oilers powerplay?
  • Drew Doughty, some draft analysts said, was more “NHL ready” than some of his contemporaries which at the time, seemed a bit like a backhanded compliment.
  • Two wins short of tying the NHL record for road victories at the start of a season– the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres set the standard– the Devils headed for Pittsburgh and their game Thursday night at Mellon Arena put Patrick Elias wasn’t feeling great after the Anaheim game so he hoping to play but isn’t 100%.
  • Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said defenseman Brooks Orpik will be out for two weeks due to a “lower-body” injury he sustained after a Mark Stuart check in Boston.
  • The Flyers are taking on the Senators tonight, Emery’s former team, and Jason Spezza was the first name Emery blurted out when mentioning the players he was looking forward to seeing.
    Spezza & Emery
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star answers some question in his Thursday mailbag concerning the Phoenix Coyotes situation, Eric Lindros role behind the scenes at the NHLPA, James Neal’s season so far, Brian Burke’s effect on the Leafs (and other Leaf related questions) as well as the Ben Fanelli hit.
  • Alex Ovechkin returned to practice this morning and easily had his best skate since suffering that strain near his left shoulder on Nov. 1 writes Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post. (article also has video of AO practicing).
  • The NHL had its most profitable year in 2008-2009, Forbes magazine said, and team values rose $3 million to an average of $223 million despite a recession that curbed fan and sponsor spending.