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Salmela ready to return

Langenbrunner excused from Monday practice for personal reasons

Monday, 12.13.2010 / 11:02 AM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Salmela ready to return
Langenbrunner's expected to practice Tuesday.
Jamie Langenbrunner was excused from practice for personal reasons and wasn't on the ice for Monday's practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

The captain was hit into the boards on Saturday by Niklas Kronwall, who received a minor for boarding. The Devils lost to Detroit, 4-1.

Langenbrunner's absence from practice was not injury-related.

"Jamie will be fine," said Devils President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello. "He'll be at practice tomorrow. He will be fine, so there's no question of him playing (Wednesday against Phoenix). He's just not here today."

Langenbrunner (neck) missed eight games from Nov. 12-27 after going heavily into the boards against Buffalo on Nov. 10.

The Devils announced Monday they had recalled defensemen Dan Kelly and Harry Young and assigned defenseman Matt Corrente and forward Alexander Vasyunov to Albany (AHL).

Corrente and Vasyunov were sent down to play in Albany’s game against Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, but the game wound up being cancelled due to poor ice conditions at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

To remain at the roster minimum of 20, they recalled Kelly and Young. The blueliners did not take part in Monday's practice.

“What transpired there was they had figure skating the night before and evidently the ice wasn’t built up for figure skating," Lamoriello said "After figure skating, there were holes (in the ice) and when they shaved it, they shaved too far and they couldn’t get it back.”

An attempt was made to reschedule the game for Monday, but a final decision was made to postpone it until Feb. 7 in Atlantic City.

Sunday’s game would have been Anssi Salmela’s third with Albany since he was assigned for conditioning on Dec. 9. Though Lamoriello said he would have liked Salmela to play one more game in the AHL, the plan is to activate the Finnish defenseman, who has not played this year following offseason knee surgery.

Salmela had four shots in his two AHL games.

"I felt good so that's the most important thing," Salmela said. "I didn't get tired. Everything felt good. I think I'm pretty much ready to go. Now we have practices and then we see if I'm in the lineup next game."

He could return as early as Wednesday. The Devils' three-game homestand continues against Phoenix.

"He went and played a couple game up there, which is good," said head coach John MacLean. "He skated well in practice, then had a couple of games. We'll look to get him back in the lineup."

Salmela was shipped to Atlanta for Niclas Havelid at the 2009 trading deadline, then reacquired in the February deal for Ilya Kovalchuk. He had two goals, six assists in 38 games last season, including a goal and two assists in nine appearances with New Jersey.

Salmela was paired with Anton Volchenkov in practice and could see time on the power play.

"He skates really well," MacLean said. "He jumps into the play and he's played – he's a veteran, he's been around. We're looking for him to add a little bit and he has a terrific shot from the point. Hopefully we can get him using that to get some shots through to the net for us."

• Lamoriello updated the status of Matt Taormina (ankle), who has not played since Nov. 12 but has been skating on his own.

"He was on (the ice), we took him off, he got a little sore, which is what happens with ankles," Lamoriello said. "He's back trying it again."

Jacob Josefson (hand, out since Oct. 27) and Mark Fraser (broken hand, out since Oct. 13) are both skating. Fraser will have one more visit with doctors before returning to practice with the team.

Today's lines:
Ilya Kovalchuk - Jason Arnott - Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - Adam Mair
Mattias Tedenby/Rod Pelley - Brian Rolston - David Clarkson

Defensemen: Andy Greene-Mark Fayne, Colin White-Henrik Tallinder, Anton Volchenkov-Anssi Salmela

Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg