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Devils await news on Salvador

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Bryce Salvador underwent tests Wednesday after he was involved in a collision during the first period of Tuesday’s preseason win over Philadelphia.

“As far as I know right now, he’s gone for tests and we’ll see what happens when the tests come back whatever that may be,” head coach John MacLean said.

Salvador is a vital part of the Devils’ defensive corps. He contributed four goals, 10 assists in 79 games last season, averaging 18:51 of ice time.

“I really have nothing more to add until we find out what the tests are," Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello said.

Though he played Tuesday, Martin Brodeur didn’t see Salvador get hurt. But he knows what the 6-3 blueliner brings.

“Sal’s a good defensive player for us and has logged a lot of minutes in different situations on the ice,” Brodeur said. “Any time you miss a guy for any length of time, it creates a little void. On the other hand, it gives an opportunity to other guys to step in, especially early on in the season to prove that they can play, get some minutes in. Hopefully we don’t have to deal with that and he’ll be back.”

Andy Greene, Salvador’s defensive partner, is hoping for good news, too.

“Obviously, it’s better to be too careful about it now than have it lingering all year,” Greene said. “Whatever it is, get it situated and find out all the details and go from there. Hopefully everything’s fine and he’s healthy and he doesn’t miss any time because he’s a big part of this D corps.”

Roster reduced to 29
The Devils trimmed their training camp roster to 29 on Wednesday, assigning goaltender Jeff Frazee to Albany (AHL) and returning defenseman Eric Gelinas to Chicoutimi (QMJHL). Veteran tryout Marcus Nilson returned to Sweden.

That there was no spot for Nilson speaks to the strength of the Devils’ youth movement, and to the progress of rookies Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson and Alexander Urbom.
“I think Marcus had probably his best game last night,” MacLean said. “I thought he played well. He’s worked hard all camp. He’s been a good player, it’s just we have some young guys who are pushing right now, so we have to give them the opportunities too.”

MacLean had high praise for Frazee: “Jeff had a great camp. He’s going to go [to Albany] and get a head start and play for Albany.”

Brian Gionta hoists the Cup in 2003.
Ex-Devil Gionta named Canadiens captain
The captaincy of the Montreal Canadiens has been bestowed upon some of the greatest names to play the game. The list of players to have worn it includes legends like Beliveau and Richard, Harvey and Cournoyer.

On Wednesday, the Canadiens added a new one: former Devil Brian Gionta.

Gionta signed in Montreal last summer and becomes the second Devil alum to captain the 24-time Stanley Cup champions. Kirk Muller, currently an assistant with the Habs, also served as Montreal captain in 1994-95.

Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner sees great things ahead for Gionta in his new role. He's the 28th captain in the Canadiens' 101-year history.

“Obviously it’s a great honor for him, and well deserved,” Langenbrunner said. “We were fortunate to have him here for a while. I consider him a good friend and it’s good to see him honored in that way. He’s always been a very good leader and leads by example every time he goes on the ice. It’s nice to see.”

Gionta was New Jersey’s third-round selection, 82nd overall, in 1998. The Boston College product debuted in 2001-02, and was a member of the Devils’ 2003 Cup title.

Langenbrunner saw the makings of a future captain even then. He and Gionta stay in touch and  spoke about the captaincy in the days leading up to the announcement.

“He was a young guy when he was here, especially at the beginning,” Langenbrunner said. “Guys that are leaders just are. It doesn’t matter if they have a letter on their jersey, if they’re put in that position. You do certain things and he was always one of those guys. You always knew he was going to be some sort of a captain somewhere.”

Gionta, now 31, spent eight seasons in New Jersey, setting the club mark for goals with 48 in 2005-06. Last year, his younger brother Stephen captained the Devils’ top minor league affiliate in Lowell.

“I was telling him, ‘Make sure he knows that you were the first captain for the Giontas in professional sports,'’’ said Devils head coach John MacLean, who coached Lowell last season.

MacLean knows Gionta well from his days as a Devils assistant.

“He’s a professional,” MacLean said. “He keeps his nose clean, comes to work every day, works hard, always concerned about everybody. He’ll do well in that role”

Martin Brodeur said the news reflects well on the Devils tradition of strong character and work ethic.

“It’s a little bit of a pride factor for our organization and for us,” Brodeur said. “He’s a guy that grew up in this organization, and he goes somewhere else and people value him as a leader. That says a lot [about him], not just as a player but as a person.”

This year’s Devils have a solid leadership core, which MacLean sees as a positive. The 2010-11 squad boasts four former captains: Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston.

“We’ve had a great leaders here, but we also had great support leaders, also,” MacLean said. “You go back to ‘03 when Joe Nieuwendyk was here. Having leadership in the room is always a positive. It not only helps your leader with the support there, but it helps your young guys develop.”

Langenbrunner has admitted to struggling with the captaincy when he was first named in 2007, but eventually grew into the role and has sound advice for Gionta or any other first-year captain.

“Be yourself,” he said. “You can’t change who you are. You were put in that position because of something you were doing. Just continue on with that.”
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