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Return for Elias to wait another game

Wednesday, 11.04.2009 / 12:47 PM / NHL Insider

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK  -- Patrik Elias will go at least one more game before he makes his season debut for the New Jersey Devils. Coach Jacques Lemaire ruled Elias out of Wednesday's game against Washington at Prudential Center. 

Elias is coming off multiple surgeries on his hip and groin during the offseason. He only started practicing with the team Monday. The Devils are 8-4-0 without the team's all-time leading scorer, who has 706 points. 

"It was only two practices he's had and I think after a couple of more than we'll see," Lemaire said Wednesday morning. 

Elias was put through a hard skate Wednesday and said he needed it. He said his leg is still sore, but Wednesday was a much better day than Tuesday.

"The practice was perfect for me today," Elias said. "I felt it at the beginning a little bit, but there were no violent moves out there. It was nice and easy, except the end. Those laps, that's tiring." 

Elias is hopeful he can play in at least one of the Devils two games this weekend. They host the Islanders on Friday and play Saturday in Ottawa. Playing in both games, he said, might be difficult. 

"Obviously every day is different and I had a bad day yesterday, but today wasn't as bad because it wasn't as hard," Elias said. "We'll see how tomorrow is. We haven't made a plan." 

Leg soreness, overall conditioning and confidence with the puck are holding Elias out of Wednesday's game. He said he has to go through stages in this rehab and he's just hasn't reached the end yet to where he's comfortable suiting up for a game. 

"I had three surgeries so you can't really forget about it," Elias said. "You try to get conditioning back by skating laps, and that's something new for the leg and for the body. You implement stop and starts and that's something new. Then you implement practicing with the guys and that's something new. Battling with the guys is something new. You just have to take it step by step to make sure when you go out there you don't go through a couple of shifts, get tired and you can't go. You just have to take your time, go through it. I think we have done a great job of that so far. 

"The guys are doing well, so there is no reason to rush to hop in a game just for the sake of it."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com
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