The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Martin Brodeur on injured reserve on February 26, retroactive to February 24, with a sore back. It's the latest affliction the team is dealing with, proving they're not immune to the kind of injury issues that are plaguing many teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers have all seen significant players go down with injuries in this young season, a bug that has apparently began to bite the Devils. Forward Ryan Carter, a key piece of the overachieving "CBGB" line, has missed the past three games with a head injury. He is eligible to come off injured reserve as soon as he's healthy, but Devils GM/President Lou Lamoriello sounded unsure about a timetable for Carter's return.
"We’re keeping the open the spot just in case we bring in someone for practice and because of the unknown about Carter’s situation,” Lamoriello said. “So, we’re just prepared for everything. We can always get Jacob [Josefson] back if we have to or somebody else from Albany."
Perhaps more concerning than Carter's injury is the one to the 40-year-old Brodeur. The NHL's all-time winningest goaltender will miss at least the next two games before he's eligible to come off injured reserve. In response, the Devils are expected to start 39-year-old Johan Hedberg and have called up Keith Kinkaid from Albany of the AHL. Meanwhile, Brodeur isn't expected to make the trip to Winnipeg for Thursday night's game.
“He’s still sore and it’s kind of foolish to put him on a plane with a back situation,” Lamoriello said. “He won’t play in Winnipeg, so let’s give him the time to get right and it will be retroactive to Sunday."
With injuries beginning to pile up and the Devils not playing well of late, losing two in a row including a 5-1 blowout in Washington, New Jersey will have to dig deep to get back to their winning form. Not having their starting goaltender won't help, but Hedberg insists he's up to the task.
“My job is to be ready whenever,” Hedberg said. “I’m always prepared for playing. Even if I know that I’m not playing, I still prepare. So, it shouldn’t be any different from any other day.”