Martin Brodeur will slip on his New Jersey Devils‘ jersey for the first time tonight since pulling himself from warm-ups less than a month ago. The 40-year old future Hall of Fame goaltender will dress as the backup to Johan Hedberg in tonight’s hotly-contested game with the rival New York Rangers.
After practicing for the first time yesterday with the team, Bordeur feels well enough to sit on the bench, and is hoping he will be on the ice for Thursday’s match up with the Carolina Hurricanes. He was also participated in this morning’s skate.
“I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine,” Brodeur said when addressing reporters earlier today. “I practiced pretty hard again. I felt good this morning when I woke up and felt good on the ice again, so I’m fine now. If anything, I’m getting better and better every day. My symptoms are 100 percent gone. I’m getting a little more strength from the numbness and all that. It’s moving along pretty good, so I’m happy.”
The injury which the team initially described as a sore back actually occurred perhaps a week or two before that infamous weekend in February. Brodeur described the injury to the media yesterday, saying that it was actually a pinched nerve.
“It started with a spasm in my back,” the goalie explained in an interview with The Star Ledger. “After that, it created other symptoms that I had a hard time getting rid of. To look at me and my day-to-day, you couldn’t tell. I just couldn’t play hockey. It was all in my upper back and shoulder.”
The unusual injury was something new for the veteran starter, and the healing process took a great deal longer than he had anticipated.
Thankfully, he has been symptom-free for over a week now, and Brodeur is hopeful he may be able to start on Thursday.
“If I feel good I think by Thursday, I should be fine,” Brodeur continued. “The coaches will be the ones to judge my practices and conditioning to be able to play. Games are a lot easier than practices.”
In order for Brodeur to suit up this evening as Hedberg’s backup, he will need to be removed from injured reserve, and the team will have to make roster space by returning Jeff Frazee or another player to the organization’s AHL affiliate in Albany.