Devils goaltender Matin Brodeur, sidelined since October 13 with a shoulder injury, informed the coaching staff that he’s ready to play tomorrow vs. Toronto, if needed. Brodeur will still have to get official clearance from the Devils medical staff, however.
Eric Boulton, sidelined after injuring his hand in a fight with San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray on October 21, also said he’s available, and will also need official clearance before he gets into the lineup.
Brodeur’s return to the starting lineup appears imminent, with the demotion of goalie Keith Kinkaid to Albany on October 31. Factor in that the Devils have back-to-back games this week (Wednesday vs. Toronto and Thursday vs. Philadelphia), and will play three games over the next four days, and it looks like Brodeur will start against Philadelphia Thursday, although head coach Pete DeBoer would not say which game Brodeur would start.
Perhaps most concerning for the Devils about the 39 year-old Brodeur is the potential for re-injuring the shoulder and costing him even more playing time. It’s a concern that Brodeur himself shares.
“We’ll stay on top of it, so, hopefully, I won’t have to go through that again,” he told the Bergen Record. “But it’s a possibility. I rehabbed it, I didn’t fix it.”
The Devils concern is warranted. Backup Johan Hedberg played well in Brodeur’s absence, but he’s 38 years old, and can’t play every day for the long term. The organization’s top minor league goaltender, Keith Kinkaid, is still not considered ready to step into a role at the NHL level. That doesn’t leave the team with many options if Brodeur’s shoulder acts up again this season. It’s a problem that the Devils, with their glaring injury issues at the center position and a sputtering offense, can do without.
– Patrik Elias temporarily left the Devils practice today, when defenseman Anton Volchenkov stepped on his left ankle during a play. There was no damage to Elias’ ankle, other than a bruise, as he was wearing a cut-proof sock.
– The Toronto Maple Leafs, who the Devils will face Wednesday night in Newark, are 7-3-1 this season, but just 2-3-0 on the road.