Brodeur feeling good after return to ice
|Brodeur looking to get back to full strength. (Getty/NHL Images)|
He skated on his own in full gear before Thursday’s practice, marking the first time he’d been on the ice in a week. The Devils’ goaltender hurt his right shoulder while making a diving save against Los Angeles last Thursday.
“I’m just happy to be able to go on the ice a little bit and rehab it a little more,” Brodeur said. “I’m happy the way it’s been feeling that’s for sure.”
Doctors gave Brodeur the green light following the results of an MRI exam. He’s expected to miss seven to 10 days, and will not need surgery.
“They all said just go ahead, try to rehab it,” Brodeur said. “I think just mentally it helps you when you know there’s nothing that’s going to affect it. I’ve felt these kind of injuries before but not to that extent.”
That was good news for coach Peter DeBoer.
“I slept a lot better last night after I heard that,” DeBoer said. “Sure there’s relief. He’s obviously a critical piece here. It was nice to get that news and know that he’ll be back soon.”
By suiting up, Brodeur learned that the shoulder can support the weight of his gear.
“Now I’m at that step now that I’m able to function with my equipment on, without getting shots and reaction and stuff yet,” he said. “We’ll do that for a few days and that’s going to build all my muscle around where my bruise is. You have to make sure everything’s clean in there and after that, we’ll be ready to start doing reaction work. But it’s a slow process.”
Back in 2008-09, a left elbow injury cost Brodeur 50 games. He admitted to being concerned before finding out that this setback will be short-term.
“I was nervous,” he said. “For me, I didn’t feel like going through what I did three years ago. Whenever you’re getting MRIs it’s because they feel something’s wrong. It was important for me to have my head clear on the results and on the advice of the doctors that I saw, and I was pretty pleased that both guys said the same thing.”
The Devils (3-1-0) will look to stay on their season-opening roll when they host San Jose (1-3-0) on Friday. Off to a 3-0 start, Johan Hedberg has sparkled between the pipes. That has DeBoer feeling confident about sticking with him. Keith Kinkaid will back up.
“He’s been great from training camp through the first three [appearances],” said DeBoer. “I can’t say enough about him as a player and a teammate. A lot of the job in net is how hard the guys want to play for you. To a man, these guys play hard for Heddy.”
The Devils play four on the road beginning Saturday at Pittsburgh and continuing to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas. Brodeur hopes to travel, but said he’ll have to see how he feels first.
“I might…not improve for three days, and if I don’t do that, I’m not going to go on the trip,” he said. “But if I feel that I have a chance to play on the road trip – depending on what Lou [GM Lamoriello] wants me to do as far as rehab – if I start skating and getting shots, more and more and more, common sense would be to play with the guys and be with the guys so I’m ready to go as soon as possible.”
• The Devils haven't played a game since Saturday's win in Nashville, and DeBoer is ready to finally get back to work.
"It’s been five days; you can see the guys getting a little antsy," he said. "You get tired of practicing for that period. I think it’s been a good week; we’ve gotten a lot of things accomplished, but I think the guys are hungry for a game."
Winners of three straight, the Devils are undefeated since their opening night loss to Philadelphia.
"I thought through the first four games we built on our game every night and we’re getting better," he said. "You want to keep playing, you want to keep that rolling. To have the break isn’t optimal in that situation, but I like the fact that we’ve had a lot of practice time early here. You’ve got a new coach and some new wrinkles to the system, so we’ve had some opportunity to work on a lot of things. That’s been good, too. That’s the good side of it."
• Could Kinkaid make his NHL debut in one of the Devils' next few games? DeBoer didn't rule it out.
"We'll see," he said. "I'm not a believer in having anyone on the roster you can't use. That includes him. We'll see. Those are day-to-day decisions."