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Devils' Kovalchuk skating, could be close to return

NEWARK, N.J. -- Offensive catalyst Ilya Kovalchuk skated with the Devils for the first time since injuring his right shoulder more than two weeks ago and hopes to return soon to the struggling New Jersey lineup.

Kovalchuk would not set a timetable for his return, but coach Peter DeBoer said the Russian star probably will play before he is fully recovered.

The Devils are winless in seven games (0-3-4) since Kovalchuk was hurt crashing into the end boards against the Florida Panthers March 23.

"Condition-wise, I feel good," Kovalchuk told reporters. "That was never a problem. I just want to make sure I'm 100 per cent when there is contact, and I can shoot one-timers and take the hard wrist shots. It's definitely going to take a few more days."

Kovalchuk, who has never had a major injury in his career, did not engage in contact during the practice.

 

Faulk returns to lineup

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes have activated defenceman Justin Faulk from injured reserve.

The team also said Tuesday it has sent defenceman Brett Bellemore to its AHL affiliate in Charlotte.

The 21-year-old Faulk missed nine games with a sprained right medial collateral ligament.

The second-year player leads the Hurricanes by averaging 23 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time and his plus-minus rating of plus-4 is second-best on the team.

The moves were made a few hours before Carolina's 5-3 loss lto the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins. The slumping Hurricanes have now lost a club-record eight straight at home and 13 of 14 overall.

 

Surgery for Wild's Heatley

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild right-winger Dany Heatley has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

Heatley had the procedure Tuesday. Coach Mike Yeo said the team isn't sure yet about a timetable for Heatley's return, but the Wild are hoping to have the 32-year-old back in time for the playoffs.

He was hurt at the end of Minnesota's game at San Jose last Wednesday when a tussle broke out between the two teams. Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was fined by the NHL for slashing Heatley in the closing seconds. The injury occurred in the ensuing scrum.

Heatley has 11 goals and 10 assists in 36 games.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2013 C8

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