Tuesday marked the third week of the Cup playoffs but the focus was less on the players on the ice and more about the ones that weren't. Namely, stars missing in action like Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Radulov, Andrei Kostitsyn and to a lesser extent, Alex Ovechkin.
As displayed in our top five stories from Day 21, each player has a unique reason of why they're "missing."
1. Ilya Kovalchuk was a no-go for Game 2 against the Flyers in Philadelphia, a lower-body injury sidelined him from the 4-1 New Jersey win. What is exactly wrong with Kovalchuk is unknown and shrouded in super-secretive playoff injury talk, with some saying a groin pull, others, a back issue.
2. From a no-go to a couple of no-shows. The Nashville Predators — down 0-2 to the Coyotes in their Western semifinal series — announced they would be without offensive threats Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn. Were they injured? No, but maybe their pride is after word got out on social media that the two were benched for Game 3 for violating a team rule.
3. Another player we've seen little of (well, in terms of ice-time, anyway —he's been a regular in our caption contests this playoff season) is Alex Ovechkin. His 13 minutes-and-change of ice time in Game 2 against the Rangers doesn't bother the Capitals' sniper though, as he told Hockey Night In Canada's Elliotte Friedman.
4. Speaking of caption contests, take a shot at this shot of three New Jersey Devils walking into the Wells Fargo Center before Game 3. Is that a "Blue Steel" pose from Dainus Zubrus?
5. NHL fans without a horse left in the race for the Stanley Cup and unsure of your favourite player's whereabouts, you might want to direct your attention to Finland as the world hockey championship begins this week. Team Canada played their final exhibition game on Tuesday (a 4-2 win over the Swiss), and will begin their group stage matches on Friday against Slovakia.
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