Last week was not a very good one for the New Jersey Devils, and the worst part is these weeks are becoming more and more conventional as the season goes on. Some are blaming John MacLean and the coaching staff. Some are blaming Ilya Kovalchuk (which Tom defends here). One thing that isn't helping is the myriad of injuries this team has had to deal with since the season began. The good news is it's been a while since a player has sustained an extensive injury (knock wood), thus there are a number of players set to return in the coming weeks.
Here was the last Injury Report from a couple days ago. The updated version is after the jump.
Bryce Salvador - Head/Concussion - Salvador was hit a couple times in a preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was sent for tests, and it was determined he suffered a concussion and will be out indefinitely. This initially helped the Devils solve their cap issues when he was put on LTIR. On Nov. 16th, Salvador was spotted at The Rock, yet told Gulitti he's still not even allowed to exercise, but that has changed recently. Salvador has started to work out on a stationary bike. This is a big step for Salvador, who is still a long ways from returning. Until his symptoms fully dissipate, we won't be seeing him. I wouldn't expect him in a game until mid-January or even February.
Zach Parise - Torn Right Knee - Parise tore his meniscus in his right knee when he collided with a player against the Los Angeles Kings. It's been an ailing injury that began hurting him in training camp. He's been placed on LTIR on Nov. 12th retroactive to Oct. 30th. He had surgery on Nov. 2nd. His timetable of 3 months hasn't changed and he is expected back early February. From the TSN crew (during the Flames/Devils game), he will wear a cast for a couple more weeks, then begin rehabilitation baring any setbacks.
Jacob Josefson - Torn Left Thumb - Josefson tore a ligament in his left hand against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 27th. He was slashed on the hand and then fell on it, though it can not be determined what actually caused the tear. He's scheduled to miss 6 to 8 weeks, which would be around the new year. He was spotted at the Rock with Parise in the team suite, perhaps taking a nap? Per Gulitti, Josefson had his cast and pins removed and will start therapy. He has not been cleared to skate yet.
Matt Taormina - Sprained Left Ankle - The rookie defenseman twisted his ankle in practice on Nov. 14th. He's been out since, and hasn't skated. Per Gulitti, he's been placed on injured reserve retroactive to his last game played (Nov. 12th vs. the Edmonton Oilers). Lamoriello confirmed it's a high ankle sprain and he's waiting for clearance from the doctors to begin skating.
Mark Fraser - Broken Left Hand - Fraser suffered his injury against Buffalo on Oct. 13th, and the next day he found out he broke his hand, would need surgery to insert a pin, and would wear a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. Fraser had to stay off the ice and couldn't work out for a period of time because he couldn't sweat (because of the pin and cast). Fraser joined Salvador on the bike and is on schedule (8 weeks). His cast was removed over a week ago and wears a temporary one when he is not exercising. He was expected to skate sometime last week, and has been so on his own.
Anssi Salmela - Torn Right Knee - This was an off-season ACL injury that was reported in September that he was months behind. That turns out to be shorter than expected. He began skating in late October. His first full practice was Nov. 11th. He's expecting to be back in December, which is a little ahead of schedule. He's wants to be careful before getting into a game to risk further injury. Anssi was to see a doctor last week, who may clear him to play. He's still waiting clearance and he will most likely play a game in Albany before returning to New Jersey.
Martin Brodeur - Bruised Right Elbow - Marty took a Patrick Kane shot to the elbow that irritated him and he left the game during the second half of the 2nd period against the Chicago Blackhawks. He tried to practice before a game against Our Hated Rivals, but no dice. He missed two games, then returned against the Edmonton Oilers. Against the Toronto Maple Leafs however, he again left the game in the 2nd period feeling discomfort in his elbow. On Nov. 20, it was reported he will miss a maximum of two weeks. Per Rich Chere, Marty told a French-Canadian news website that he does not expect to play last week. Here's the direct link of the article (Google Translation). Per Chere's Twitter, Marty has been skating since Dec. 2nd. Today was his first full practice with the team. Johan Hedberg will start against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Mike McKenna will most likely be his back-up, yet Marty said he will be ready to go Friday against the Ottawa Senators. Marty traveled with the team to Pittsburgh so he can face some shots in the morning.
So Marty's scheduled return is good news, but it's not going to solve the Devils' problems. The one aspect of the Devils play of late has been the goaltending of Moose Hedberg. Having two goaltenders that are dependable and capable of winning a game on their own is certainly something the fans can feel good about. It's not the best way to get wins but the Devils will take any win at this point.
Express your concern about the injuries in the comments. Who should be sent down when Fraser and Salmela eventual return? What should the new lines/pairings look like? Who do the Devils need the most that is expected back soon? Thanks for reading.