Martin Brodeur was on the ice for abour 40 minutes today facing shots at the end of the morning skate. All but about 15 minutes of that time was spent facing shots from assistant coaches John MacLean and Tommy Albelin and head coach Brent Sutter because the rest of the team left the ice to get ready for tonight's game.
Brodeur has pretty much done everything he can do without being in another full practice. Sutter said that might happen once on this trip, but it will likely have to wait for the four day break after Saturday's game at Nassau Coliseum. So far, Brodeur has had only one full practice -- on Saturday -- and the full team was on the ice for only 20 minutes for that one.
"The next few days will be similar to what we did today and I'll hopefully get some more work later on next week," Brodeur said.
"We may have one (practice) or we may not, depending on the situation over the next four or five days," Sutter said. "But it's probably going to be more when we get into when we have four or five days between games next week. To be honest, that's more likely to happen."
Brodeur said he's not "100 percent" yet. He's still on schedule, though, to play in his first game on Feb. 26 at Prudential Center against Colorado. That's the first game after this three-game road trip.
"I feel good. I feel not 100 percent, but I feel good enough to do whatever I want out there," Brodeur said. "That's the main thing, but more and more it's going to go on and I'll be ready soon."
Brodeur said he doesn't know if all of the scar tissue in his arm has broken up yet.
"I don't feel much of things," he said. "I'm in pretty good control all the time when I do make my saves just because of the way the drills are made to be. I don't feel any pain that much when I do jump on the ice anymore. It's a big difference from a week ago. That was part of the process. It's amazing, every day and every week how much you improve. Now, playing the puck doesn't seem to be a big issue. Last week it was tough. So, it's going to be gradual like that, I guess."
When asked what the toughest part of his game will be to get back, Brodeur replied, "I don't know. I haven't practiced everything, yet. In a game situation, we had one 20-minute practice with a full team and full speed. That's what I'm looking for is to have guys fresh coming at me shooting the puck and skating fast and doing everything 100 miles an hour as compared to in practices where everything is in slow motion a little bit. So, it's hard to work on your game. You can work on your conditioning, but the aspect of the game is where you practice with your teammates and all of that."
There is only so much Brodeur can do without the full team on the ice.
"Getting shots and moving around, it's not too bad," he said. "It's just the reactions. Getting on loose pucks, freezing pucks, controlling my rebounds in traffic, tips and stuff like that, it's hard to simulate in practices unless you have everybody there. It's just a matter of taking it step by step right now. Because we play so much, it's really hard to have these kind of practices for me, but I'm ready to go full out whenever they can do it."
Still, Sutter can see that Brodeur is improving.
"There's certainly progress," he said. "Every day is progress and we're going to stick to the plan where we're going to continue to do a few more things every day. It's worked out well. We'll get to a point where we can have some full practice with him in some more game-like situations, but with our schedule right now it's trying to handle both situations appropriately. First, we have to make sure we're (the team is) ready to go every night to play and as we do that we have to make sure Marty is getting a certain amount of work, too."
When asked if Sutter lined up seven pucks today and shot them -- and if he stopped them all -- Brodeur said, "I think I stopped them all when he shot today, but I'm not sure. I didn't look behind me. He hit a few posts. I don't know if they went in or not."
There wasn't room for Brodeur's equipment in the main locker room, so he dressed in a side room that used to be a coach's office, which had a couch in it.
Sutter said everything is "status quo" with Brendan Shanahan (bruised right foot) and Paul Martin (upper body soreness). Neither will play tonight and they both remain "day to day."
Scott Clemmensen, who will start tonight against the Panthers, said he had the wind knocked out of him by a Travis Zajac shot that hit him in the stomach during the morning skate.
"It hit me right below my padding," Clemmensen said. "It just knocked the wind out of me. It's just a little shot, but (in a morning skate) you see a lot of shots from close range."