Center Bobby Holik and left wing Mike Rupp both took the high road about being healthy scratches for the Devils tonight against Ottawa.
With Patrik Elias returning from a four-game layoff with leg muscle tightness and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond being called up and inserted in the lineup, Devils coach Brent Sutter decided to sit Holik and Rupp.
"I'm not surprised by anything," Holik said when asked if he was surprised. "We need to do what is necessary to make our team better...I'm a team player. If that's what's necessary for us to be better, I can take it. I'm a grown man."
"I'm not going to answer if I'm surprised or not," Rupp said. "At this time of year, you have to swallow your pride and do what's best for that team. So, if that's what they're doing, then that's what it is."
When asked if he thought he was playing well, Holik said. "I'd prefer not to talk about that."
"We've been doing all right," Rupp said when asked the same question. "I think we've been OK. We can be better with little things here and there, but I think for the most part we've been playing in their zone, so that's a good thing."
Leblond, who arrived in Ottawa Wednesday night, but was not officially called up until this morning. is excited to get a chance to play in the NHL again. His last NHL game was Dec. 10 against Pittsburgh. He's played in six NHL games this season and notched one assist and 15 penalty minutes.
"I'm excited," he said. "I can't wait to go."
Asked if he can bring a spark this team might need, Leblond replied, "Not being in the locker room, I don't know what's going on. Obviously, the team has been hot and cold and I'll just bring what I bring to every game. They've seen me play all year. If they like it, then perfect."
Leblond said his brother and some of his friends will make the two-and-a-half hour drive from Montreal to see him play tonight.
Leblond said he is disappointed that Lowell will not qualify for the playoffs again this season.
"We've been battling for the last 20 games," he said. "We've been in and out, but mostly out a couple of points from a playoff spot. The last four games have meant nothing. We were so close."