Goaltender Martin Brodeur skated Thursday before Devils practice in full gear, testing his injured right shoulder by placing weight on his stick and blocker.
The 39-year-old said he plans to do that again over the next few days while rehabbing a bruised shoulder that, according to the Devils, will sideline him for 7 to 10 days.
"It felt good, really good," said Brodeur, who had not been on the ice for an entire week. "I didn't know what to expect with all the weight of the equipment and my stick. The rotation of my arm and everything is feeling good."
Luckily for both the team and Brodeur, an MRI showed no structural damage and he won't require surgery.
"Slept a lot better last night after I heard that," coach Pete DeBoer said. "There's obviously some relief here. He's a critical piece and it was nice to get that news."
Brodeur said he is still experiencing pain and some lack of mobility, but hopes to be able to travel with the team on their three-game road trip out West following Saturday's game in Pittsburgh.
"That's my hope, but again I have to listen to what my body tells me," Brodeur said. "I might go and not improve for three days. If I don't do that I'm not going to go on the trip, but if I feel I have a chance to play on the road trip...and I start getting shots more and more, it's common sense to play with the guys, be with the guys so I'm ready to go as soon as possible."
With Brodeur out for the near future the Devils will rely on Johan Hedberg, who has played nothing like a backup.
Hedberg, who relieved the injured Brodeur in the team's 2-1 shootout win over the Kings last Thursday, is 3-0-0 with a 1.41 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.
"He's been great from training camp through the first three starts. Again, I cant say enough about him as a player and as a teammate," DeBoer said. "A lot of the job in net is how hard the guys want to play for you. To a man, these guys have played hard for [Hedberg]"