After facing shots for 20 minutes this afternoon, goaltender Martin Brodeur won't make the trip with the team to Long Island tonight for Saturday's game against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
He wouldn't get much work during Saturday's morning skate, so he's going to stay behind and skate at Prudential Center instead. He said he would face shots, but wasn't sure who would be shooting at him.
"It will be the same," he said. "I've been doing the same thing over and over and over."
Brodeur has begun breaking in a new pair of pads. "I might as well if I'm going to be facing all of these shots," he said.
It's evident that Brodeur is bored with facing shots from a handful of guys.
"Oh yeah," he admitted, "I'm getting there. It's part of the process, so you've got to do it. But I feel real good."
Right now, all Brodeur needs are some full practices to sharpen his game.
"I feel good," Brodeur said. "I'm good to go, I think. Two or three guys shooting, this is what I've been doing for a week. It's just that the schedule doesn't permit me to go and feel that I'm OK for a game, yet. Hopefully, next week we're going to have a lot of practices and that's going to tell me if I'm good to go. But right now I feel no pain, nothing. I'm able to do things now that a week ago I was not able to do it. So, I'm really happy about the way everything is going on."
What can he do better now than a week ago?
"Shooting the puck, freezing the puck, reacting to a loose puck, extending my arm on the ice," he said. "If somebody goes around me, I'm not afraid anymore. Before I was kind of tentative. All of these little things, pushing a guy. It's funny. If somebody was going to tackle me a week ago, I would have (put up his arms to protect himself). Now, I'm not afraid to grab a guy for fun."
Does that mean he's ready for Bobby Holik to run into him in practice?
"Maybe not yet," he said, laughing. "I don't think you can ever be ready for that."
Brodeur is looking forward to having the chance to get in three full practices next week before Thursday's game against Colorado, which is the target for his return from a torn left biceps tendon.
"I am excited," he said. "When I go out there and I do whatever I want (physically) for me that's like being normal. I've been doing that for a couple of days now, so it's really exciting that it's around the corner some time."
Devils coach Brent Sutter would not say whether Scott Clemmensen or Kevin Weekes will start in net Saturday night. It appears he is leaning toward Clemmensen, but after not revealing who his starter would be throughout the nearly four months that Brodeur has missed, he's not going to change that now with Brodeur's return so close.
"The days are counting down (until Brodeur's return), so you're trying to catch me on one (before) Marty gets back," Sutter said, laughing.
When I pointed out there's probably only one game left, Sutter said, "Yeah, but we'll jinx ourselves."
Sutter said one of the reasons why only a four players -- Brodeur, Jay Pandolfo, Anssi Salmela and Jay Leach -- skated today was because he wanted to keep the players away from each other while the flu bug is going through the team. Zach Parise and Bryce Salvador played through the flu in Thursday's 3-2 shootout win at Tampa Bay.
"That's the reason why I wanted guys staying away from the rink today," Sutter said.
When asked if anyone else had caught the bug, Sutter replied, "Not that I know of."
Brian Gionta left for part of the third period on Thursday, but Sutter said that was because Gionta had to have his skate repaired.
Sutter admitted he was surprised that Parise came back in the third period -- and scored the tying power-play goal -- after sitting out the second.
"Seeing the way Zach came back after he was down and out, I thought there was no chance," Sutter said. "I was completely shocked when he was getting his equipment on to start the third period. I looked at him. I asked him what he was doing and he said, 'I'm coming back out to play' and he was whiter than a ghost. But that's just Zach. It's his character and the type of guy he is. He's going to play through stuff and he goes out and scores a big goal for you. And (Travis Zajac) gets cut like he did (on the upper lip) and he comes right back after getting stitched up. Sure, it tells you a lot about the individuals.
The Islanders traded defenseman Chris Campoli and center Mike Comrie to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon for center Dean McAmmond and San Jose's 2009 first-round draft pick (acquired in the Andrei Meszaros trade with Tampa Bay).