04:01 PM ET 04.19 | New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk stated he wants to return this season regardless of the team's playoff chances. Explaining that athletes owe it to the fans to play when healthy, Kovalchuk wants to finish out the season in the lineup and not on the sideline. Kovalchuk sustained a shoulder injury against the Florida Panthers on March 23 and has not played since. he returned to practice 10 days ago but was limited in the scope of drills he could participate in. Kovalchuk noted he was unable to attempt slap shots. Head coach Peter DeBoer stated he is comfortable with Kovalchuk returning as long as he can give and receive contact.