Devils goaltending legend Martin Brodeur will be activated from IR Monday after a ‘sore back’ landed him a spot off the roster to get well; the best anyone has gotten out of the organization is a steadfast ‘day-to-day’ prognosis from Dr. Lou Lamoriello. Sunday afternoon at the Devils’ optional practice, head coach Pete DeBoer named Johan Hedberg the starter for the team on Monday in Toronto, and at the same time, Lamoriello told reporters that Broduer would not start Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay.
The major issue this week has less to do with Brodeur not being ready, but with Hedberg having to handle back-to-back starts after a very lackluster previous five games. Certainly not everything can be blamed on him; he has not been terrible, and his first assignment was a back-to-back that he was not expecting. However, it cannot be overstated that this is a little bit worrisome for the Devils going forward.
The team is being very quiet about the nature of Brodeur’s injury, leading us to know only two things:
1. It is affecting his back
2. It is bad enough to keep him off the ice for more than 15 days.
The nature of the injury is apparently not specific enough to detail any type of rehab or solution; they are simply letting him rest his ailing back. It is difficult to believe that this issue will be past Brodeur in a week, considering the situation has not improved enough to, in NFL terms, upgrade him from ‘doubtful’ to ‘questionable’.
There are a lot of problems with the New Jersey Devils amidst their recent five-game slide, and goaltending is no more culpable than poor special teams play or a lack of goal scoring in general, but while the solutions are available among names like Zajac, Clarkson, Henrique and Kovalchuk, it is hard to say that even when Brodeur returns between the pipes, he may not be competing at his highest level, something the Devils need from their entire team in the weeks and months to come.