According to Tom Gulitti, Devils defenseman Paul Martin will return to the lineup for tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It'll be the first time since October 24th, coincidentally against the Penguins, when Martin took a shot in the forearm from Bill Guerin. Mark Fraser and Anssi Salmela will sit out tonight, as Jersey's Team's best defenseman is finally back in his rightful spot.
"It's been a long time coming," Martin said. "It's just exciting to be around the guys and get back in there and play a game. I'm trying not to get too excited, but I think it will be fun."
Martin had a brief chat on the ice at the end of the morning skate with Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, who skated over to him to discuss whether he would play tonight.
"He asked how I felt and I said, ‘good' and that was about it," Martin said.
Lemaire said it was essentially Martin's decision that he would play tonight.
"He made it," Lemaire said. "That's how it works. He's just got to come and say I'‘m playing and he plays."
Lemaire said that Martin "probably" would not play in Thursday's game in Toronto, but left open the possibility of changing his mind depending on how Martin plays and feels after the game tonight.
If that isn't the Devil way, I don't know what is. In other injury news related to tonight's game, Pensburgh mentioned yesterday that Evgeni Malkin may not play, and that enforcer Eric Godard may return to the lineup for tonight's game. Also, Jay Pandolfo will tap in for PL3 on the Jersey side. With all the buzz surrounding tonight's game and the emotional boost from the return of Paul Martin, tonight is shaping up to be a pretty must-see atmosphere at the Prudential Center.
UPDATE: Malkin will not, in fact, play tonight.