Today, the New Jersey Devils held an optional practice at the AmeriHealth Pavilion at 1 P.M. Afterwards, the Devils will travel to Columbus, OH in preparation for their game tomorrow against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marek Zidlicky missed his first game of the season on Saturday when he sustained an upper-body injury against the New York Rangers. The good news is that he showed up to the optional practice today and looks to be avoiding a major injury at the moment.
Zidlicky, putting all past criticism aside, has been fairly productive this season and believe it or not, losing him would hurt the defensive production and even the powerplay production. Peter DeBoer informed Tom Gulitti that Zidlicky will accompany the team to Columbus.
DeBoer also mentioned that Peter Harrold has “something minor” but skated on his own this morning. He is not participating in the optional practice. Stephen Gionta also skated on his own earlier in the day.
Harrold may be skating on thin ice as it is (I suppose pun intended). Until Bryce Salvador or Adam Larsson return (more on them in a moment), Harrold is safe.
He may be the first to go when one of them comes back.
Salvador (foot stress fracture) and Larsson (lower-body) did not skate today and continue to stay on injured reserve. Salvador has been out for quite some time now and now even Larsson has been out for a while.
It is still purely speculation what will happen when Salvador and/or Larsson returns in relation to if Jon Merrill and/or Harrold/Mark Fayne/Eric Gelinas (you never know, Lou may actually be insane) will stay up with the NHL squad.
Players on active roster not practicing today: Zajac, Zubrus, Elias, Bernier, Ryder, Henrique, Greene, Harrold.
— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) December 9, 2013
The only one with any injury concern would be Harrold and he should be a game-time decision for tomorrow. At least it seems that way.
Ryane Clowe is skating with the team today but still “has not participated in a full practice. No timetable for return,” (Gulitti). Not much more can be said on Clowe at this point. Maybe a possible return after the Olympic Break would be the most rational prediction.
Tom Gulitti also confirmed to a follower that nothing was said on Ryan Carter who is also on injured reserve at the moment. Carter being out for a while confirms that Reid Boucher will be here quite a bit longer.
DeBoer also said that he is not sure what goaltender will start in Columbus tomorrow night. A quick statistical comparison of the two through 31 games this season:
Martin Brodeur – 17 starts, 1,023 minutes, 2.29 GAA, 8-7-2, 2 shutouts, .905 save percentage, 39 goals against.
Cory Schneider – 14 starts, 856 minutes, 1.89 GAA, 4-6-4, 2 shutouts, .920 save percentage, 27 goals against.