Elias will not face Washington

Halischuk to play Wednesday

Wednesday, 11.4.2009 / 11:27 AM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Elias will not face Washington
Elias could see game action this weekend.
Patrik Elias will have to wait a little bit longer to play his first game of 2009-10.

Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire said Wednesday that the star forward would not be in the lineup to face the visiting Washington Capitals.

"It's only two practices he had," Lemaire said. "I think it'll be good he gets a couple more, then we'll see."

Elias practiced this week for the first time since undergoing September groin surgery and took part in Wednesday's morning skate.

"Pretty good today," Elias said. "You could see it was a little bit less challenging, but I needed a practice like that just to kind of fiddle with the puck a little bit and do different things. I stayed away a little bit from the stops and starts today, so that was good."

Each day of skating with the team has tested Elias in different ways. Monday's practice was a grueling skate and was followed by a lighter session on Tuesday, when he reported feeling some soreness. There was more of the same on Wednesday.

"Still sore; a little sore," he said. "Like I said, I felt a little bit tired and a little bit sore yesterday after practice. It was the same thing today. That's why I say practice was perfect for me today. I felt it at the beginning a litlte bit, but there were no violent moves out there. It was nice and easy; it was good, except the end. The laps, that gets tiring."

Regaining his timing and conditioning are all part of the process. Elias is the Devils' all-time leading scorer and will add an offensive boost to a New Jersey squad that was 8-4-0 entering Wednesday's contest.

"I think it's a combination of just different moves; new moves," he said. "I've had three surgeries. You can't really forget about it. It's in the process of healing. It's a combination of everything together with the hip. You do different things. You try to get the conditioning back, you skate laps. That's something new for the leg and for the body. You introduce stops and starts, that's something new. Then you practice with the guys, and that's something new. Battling with the guys, that's something new.

"So you just have to take it step by step to feel comfortable that you can go out there and not really go through a couple of shifts and get tired. You just have to take your time and go through it and take it step by step. I think we did a great job with that so far."

Elias said Wednesday's decision to keep him out of the lineup was made before the morning skate.

"I really didn't communicate with anybody whether I was playing or not until (Wednesday)," he said. "They asked how I felt, and I was being honest about it. I think it's the right approach. The guys are doing well, so there's really no reason to rush to hop in a game just for the sake of it. There's the issue with the surgery, and there's the issue of just getting confident with the puck and not getting killed."

He said he hopes to avoid the rude welcome that Toronto's Phil Kessel received Tuesday night against Tampa Bay. Kessel missed the first 12 games of the season after shoulder surgery, and was laid out in the first period of his first game back by Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund.

"He got caught with his head down," Elias said. "Obviously, that's going to happen, but you just have to be smart out there. You're not going to be 100 percent comfortable until you get in a game anyway, and a few games, obviously. If you have a doubt, that's never good."

He did not rule out playing in one of the Devils' weekend games. Jersey's Team hosts the Islanders Friday, and heads to Ottawa Saturday.

"Every day is different," he said. "I had a bad day; not feeling great (Tuesday). Today was OK because it wasn't as hard. We'll see how I feel tomorrow and after tomorrow's practice. Back-to-back games, I don't know, that would be tough probably. We'll see. We haven't made a plan, one way or the other. We just have to talk to everybody and make the right decision for everybody."

Matt Halischuk has been recalled from Lowell (AHL), and will play tonight.

• With 38 shots in 12 games, Niclas Bergfors is second among rookies to Islanders' 2009 first-overall pick John Tavares. Lemaire said the coaching staff discusses getting pucks toward the net.

"I guess he's one of those who heard what we had to say and tries to do it," Lemaire said.




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54


A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59