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Fraser ready when needed

Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 4:22 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Fraser ready when needed
Fraser injured his hand before this scrap with McCormick on Oct. 13.
After a couple of solid practices, Mark Fraser’s ready to return to the lineup.

The Devils defenseman has missed the last 31 games with a broken hand.

“The last two days have been really good practice,” Fraser said Tuesday. “It’s exactly what I needed to get back. It was really the physicality challenge that I needed. I definitely got that in the last two days, and today I was bumping guys and I got bumped a couple times, and I feel that’s my final test.

“Whenever the team needs me, or whenever they want to call upon me, I feel confident that I’m now game-ready.”

The Devils are back in action Wednesday, when they host the Rangers.

Fraser couldn’t pinpoint how the break happened, but it didn’t occur during his fight with Cody McCormick at Buffalo. As it turns out, his right hand had been bothering him before that Oct. 13 meeting with the Sabres.

“That started actually in training camp,” Fraser said. “I blocked a shot in a (Sept. 28 preseason) game (against) Philly. It had been blown up for two weeks prior to the fight.”

The injury lingered following the Flyers game.

“I didn’t play for a week after that,” Fraser continued. “I played the last game at the Island. That entire week of practice, I was battling to grip the stick.”

Fraser said a first-period charge by Patrick Kaleta in that Buffalo game did more to aggravate the hand than the fight, which came later in the period.

“I just knew going into the game, if I’m going to fight, protect the outside of my hand,” he said. “You only punch with the outside of your hand anyway. I had just known ahead of time fights happen in my game, just to be careful if they do.”

Jacques Lemaire and the Devils are looking to snap a five-game losing streak. They have faced the Rangers twice, dropping decisions of 3-1 at the Garden on Oct. 24 and 3-0 at Prudential Center on Nov. 5.

The past history of the Battle of the Hudson is no concern of Lemaire’s heading into Wednesday’s meeting at the Rock.

“We’ve got to start to play good, nevermind the rivalry,” he said. “There’s no rivalry right now. Two different teams. We’ve got to start to play good, start to compete, go from there.”

Lemaire, who took over for John MacLean on Dec. 23, was pleased with his first two days of full practices.

“Yeah,” he said. “I wish I had five.”