NEWARK, N.J. -- There isn't a team that gets this far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that doesn't have players with nagging injuries, but the Devils are about as healthy as can be with the Final set to start Wednesday night at Prudential Center.
Of all the Devils on the ice for practice Monday, none were used as extra forwards or defensemen because they were recovering from injury. The team's "fifth line" of Petr Sykora, Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton could all play if necessary, while seventh and eighth blueliners Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder are also well enough to play.
Tallinder has been out since Jan. 17 due to a blood clot in his leg, but coach Peter DeBoer said that is no longer an issue.
"He's ready to go," DeBoer said. "I have no apprehension (using him). We can play anyone we have available right now."
According to DeBoer, everyone is available. That's something few teams have when the calendar creeps toward June, but it's also something the just-as-healthy Kings can boast as well.
"This is a war of attrition," DeBoer said. "To be as healthy as we are, to have the luxury of having eight healthy defensemen right now and entire forward group, that's something very few teams have. Unfortunately, L.A. has the same thing, so there's no advantage. It's a nice spot to be in."
What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.
— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp