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Clarkson to miss 4-6 weeks

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Clarkson has 15 points in 23 games.
David Clarkson will miss the next four to six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of the bone above his right ankle, Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced Saturday morning.

Clarkson suffered the injury when he blocked a shot from Zdeno Chara in the first period of Friday's 2-1 shootout win in Boston.

It's another blow for a team that has had to cope all season with injuries to key regulars.

"We don't even think about that," Lamoriello said. "We accept what comes, which is not controllable, and handle everything that we have control over. I've always said when you have injuries, there are players who have to get added responsibilities. They decide how they do with them, and then it gives younger players an opportunity. The younger players have taken advantage of those opportunities and played well."

Lamoriello said stitches were required to repair a laceration resulting from the shot. Clarkson was hospitalized overnight in Boston to ensure that the cut was not infected. The Devils' winger will wear an air cast, and was expected back in New Jersey sometime Saturday.

"If it was going to happen, it happened in the right place, let's put it that way," Lamoriello said.

Fortunately, no surgery was needed for Clarkson. Lamoriello went to the hospital with Clarkson, whose father was in Boston.

Clarkson was off to the best start of his career and will be missed. The third-year right wing has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 23 games.

"It's tough for the kid, first," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "To me, he was playing good hockey. When you're off to a good start, you want to keep it as long as you can and make it, if possible, your best year. Losing him, first of all, first thing that comes to my mind is the power play. He's the best guy that we have in front of the net. He's strong there, has good stick, long reach. He managed to get rebounds, always trying to interfere with the goalie's view on every shot. I think we're losing a good player."

Clarkson turned in front of Chara just as the Bruins' captain released the shot. Lemaire said Clarkson would have been better off facing it.

"That's why they put the pads on the front, not on the side," said the coach.

Forwards Ilkka Pikkarainen and Vladimir Zharkov have been recalled from Lowell. Defenseman Tyler Eckford has been assigned to the club's top AHL affiliate.

Lemaire spoke highly of Zharkov, who leads Lowell with 20 points (6g-14a) in 22 games. Zharkov was to play Saturday on a line with Dean McAmmond and Matt Halischuk.

"I heard that he's playing really well," Lemaire said. "He's another kid that we thought highly of him at camp. Hopefully he's going to take the chance to do the best of it and show that he can play."

Brodeur gets the start vs. Isles
Lemaire said he'll go with Martin Brodeur in net on Saturday. Brodeur (14-6-1) made 32 saves to beat Boston, and broke Patrick Roy's NHL record for most minutes played by a goaltender.

"He's on a good run," Lemare said. "I think he's playing his best hockey of the season right now. Especially the last few games, you can see he's in control. He sees a lot of pucks and he manages to see them even with traffic and still can make the saves. It's a great sign of a good goalie."

Oduya, Niedermayer likely to practice Monday
Lamoriello did have some good news on the injury front, and said it was "more than likely" that defenseman Johnny Oduya and forward Rob Niedermayer would return to practice on Monday.

Pandolfo "not ready yet"; Martin wearing half cast
Lamoriello said Jay Pandolfo (shoulder) is "not ready yet." Paul Martin has been skating and has a half-cast on his forearm. Both players were injured at Pittsburgh on Oct. 24.

"That's still not healed," Lamoriello said. "Until that's healed, that's still a couple of weeks away."

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