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The Practicing New Jersey Devils

Today is day 2 of the Devils practice break before they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.  You may want to pay attention to the Avalanche, who are playing Atlanta tonight, at Mile High Hockey.

Regardless, the Devils have been practicing and given the last three games, it's clear they needed to practice something.  Of course, we don't know whether or not it's helped.  I mean, we can't expect Gulitti or Chere to just hypothetically post "Devils looked good today. Real good." (First hypothetical comment: "The Best.").  So let's just hope that they are sorting themselves out.   Gulitti says that practicing can't hurt the team!

One thing's for sure, the team is getting healthier in one way.  Today, according to Gulitti, Brendan Shanahan stepped on the ice to practice after suffering from a bruised foot.  In addition, Paul Martin continues to practice and, per Gulitti, Brent Sutter says the decision is up to Martin as to whether he would be ready for Thursday night.   Getting Martin back would be massive for the defense, for sure.  If only so Oduya, White, and Salvador don't have Martin's minutes added to their ice time for another game! Especially now, with the schedule becoming more frantic with March looming on the horizon.

However, the team is not getting healthier in another way - the stomach flu is going through the locker room.  It struck Zach Parise during the Tampa Bay game last Thursday.  It got Bryce Salvador, too.   Today, it was Travis Zajac's turn to feel ill, according to Rich Chere.  So he left practice today to, well, get better. Hopefully, he can rest up and get it out of his system. Even if he has to do so literally.  The flu, for the lack of a better word, sucks.

Oh, and then there's this Martin Brodeur deal.  Gulitti not only has video of Brodeur in practice, but he reports something very interesting: that a decision will be made on Wednesday after practice.  You want to read this particular story for all of the reasoning that Sutter has to sort out and Marty's quotes.  But this is a marked difference from what Sutter has done for the last 4 months.  Since the Brodeur injury, Sutter has stayed steadfast in avoid publicly announcing the goaltender.  Even between games. Chere and Gulitti had to assume who the starter was based on which goaltender went onto the ice first.   Brodeur's return is a big deal and I appreciate that they are going to discuss the issue.  I'm just surprise Sutter has been this open about it!

Regardless if he starts tomorrow, the Devils need to bounce back from the last week on Thursday - with or without Zajac. In the meantime, check out the latest Devils prospect rankings at Hockey's Future.  I think Clemmensen and Weekes are possible assets for the Devils to trade by next week.  Seeing Jeff Frazee's stock improve in the eyes of HF is very heartening.  He's the starter in Lowell now, and  he may soon have that role guaranteed in a week!