Talking Red

What’s 4 Letters For “He Lost The Puck?”

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

With the dearth of New Jersey Devils happenings (Adam Henrique’s broken hand, Anton Volchenkov’s injury) and both the NHL and NHLPA waiting for the other one to make a move on a deal on which the two sides really aren’t terribly far apart, hockey has been a bit of an afterthought in the public’s sport consciousness. However, fans may recognize that New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk achieved an honor bestowed to few athletes on Tuesday.

Kovalchuk now has his name immortalized with the likes of baseball Hall of Famer Mel Ott and Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr as athletes whose names have been used as answers in The New York Times Crossword Puzzle. While aficionados of the puzzle will note that “MEL” or “OTT” appear several times a month with such clues as “Great Giant” (coincidentally, also seen Tuesday), it’s rare that a hockey clue makes its way into the puzzle of puzzles, save for an occasional reference to Bobby Orr and the three commonly used letters in his last name.

Sadly, Kovalchuk’s clue was not No. 17 either across or down in the puzzle.

It’s a simple clue in Tuesday’s puzzle “40 Down: The N.H.L.’s Kovalchuk” combined with other across responses such as “ETAIL” “DOUGHBOY” and “ESTA.” (the puzzle, on a whole was about average difficultly level for a Tuesday, but this clue is sure to stump non-sports fans who tackle the puzzle daily). The dynamic Russian winger with the mysterious back injury that plagued him in the Stanley Cup Final was not named as a Devil in the clue, but simply as a member of the N.H.L. (which is ironic because there is no NHL at the moment). Sadly, Will Shortz, editor of the Times’ crossword, missed a golden chance to further mock Kovalchuk for losing the puck in a shootout against Buffalo during the early part of the 2010 season.

With this brief note, what are some other suggestions of crossword clues for members of the Devils, both past and present? Send responses to @talkingred and @dpennucci on Twitter.

-Dan Pennucci