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Brodeur could play this week

Reported feeling good after Monday's practice

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 2:20 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur could play this week
Brodeur likely to play in one of the next three games. (Getty/NHL Images)
Martin Brodeur can't say for sure when he'll be back, but there's no question that he's making progress on the injury front.

Brodeur came off injured reserve and practiced with the team Monday. He reported no pain in the right shoulder he bruised against Los Angeles on Oct. 13.

"I feel pretty good," Brodeur said. "I think it was a good practice. I did a lot of good things. I’m happy about the way it went."

After a 1-3 road trip, the Devils (4-4-1) play four of their next five on home ice. They host Toronto on Wednesday and visit Philadelphia on Thursday.

There's been no decision yet on when Brodeur will return, though he said he could face the Maple Leafs if needed. He's missed six games, but with 73 left in the regular-season marathon, time is on his side.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that if they asked me to play, I could play," Brodeur said. "But I think we’re in a position that I want to make sure I’m one hundred percent to go out there and play, to the level I feel comfortable, anyway. I’ll know more tomorrow. This was the first day of practicing, we’ll see how that feels [Tuesday]."

Brodeur said there's "definitely a good chance" he'll be back by Saturday when Winnipeg comes to town. Keith Kinkaid, who had been backing up Johan Hedberg, was assigned to Albany (AHL) on Monday.

"It’s a question of how comfortable I am doing stuff," said Brodeur. "I don’t feel any limitation or anything, but mentally knowing I hurt my shoulder, I’m hesitant to do certain things. In a game, I’m not going to be and so I don’t know how that’s going to feel.

"That’s why I want practice time to really do more reaction things. Now, even though it’s a full practice, I’m able to control myself because, you know, if you turn around, they tap it in, that red light doesn’t go on. In a game it will, so I want to make sure I’m OK to do what I need to do."

Brodeur indicated this latest injury aggravated a preexisting condition from four years ago. Fortunately, he feels his recovery has been ahead of schedule.

"Now it’s getting my shoulder strong and get the inflammation out," he said. "It’s going in the right direction a lot quicker than I thought even though we said 7 to 10 days. It could’ve been a lot worse than that. I feel good about what’s going on."

It's up to the NHL's all-time wins and shutouts leader to know when he's ready.

"He’ll make that call," coach Peter DeBoer said. "This guy know his body better than anybody. There’s nothing that I can look at out there and decide. He knows his body and how he feels. We just don’t want to rush him to get in there. He wants to help the team; obviously he’s a competitor, but he’s got to feel very good to do that."

Notes and quotes
DeBoer on evaluating the Devils' 1-3 road trip:
"I think the best way I can evaluate it is, I like what we’re doing, I don’t like the results right now. I have to stick with the belief that if we keep doing the right things, we’re going to get rewarded for it. That’s the best way I can put it."

Captain Zach Parise on the trip:
"Two out of the last three games, we played pretty well. The Dallas game, I thought, was a good game, and the L.A. game was obviously really good for us. In Dallas, we had to do some more to generate offense, but I thought every other part of our game was pretty good."