The beginning of the shortened NHL season saw success come in big ways for the New Jersey Devils as the team began the year 10-3-4. The Devils have tanked since then, however, since Martin Brodeur hurt his back in pregame warm-ups on Feb. 24. New Jersey is just 3-6-2 since their hot start and it is apparent that they need their star back in the lineup as soon as possible. Johan Hedberg hasn’t been the answer for New Jersey while Brodeur has been out.
Hedberg has started every game in Brodeur’s absence and while he has stabilized since losing six straight games to begin this downward spiral, there has to be true concern about this Devils team making the playoffs now. New Jersey is presently seventh in the Eastern Conference and only three points ahead of the ninth-place New York Islanders. I’m sure that Brodeur will return before the end of the season, but I am worrying that it could be too little, too late for this Devils team.
Brodeur is the heart and soul of the whole New Jersey team. I had thought that the team would be in major trouble when Brodeur retired and this season could be showing the cracks in the foundation. I’m not suggesting that the Devils pull Hedberg because he is the best option right now, but the Devils need Brodeur back. He is scheduled to return to practice in the next week or so which has to be very good news for New Jersey. It is clear that the only person to stop this downward spiral for the Devils is Brodeur.