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Josefson returns to the ice on Day 3

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

After missing the first two days of training camp, Jacob Josefson returned to the ice Tuesday at AmeriHealth Pavilion and reported that his lower body injury has improved.

"It felt good," Josefson said. "It was a lot fun to be out there and be a part of practice. I enjoyed it."

Josefson took part in drills as an extra forward, but was kept out of the morning scrimmage. He's a possibility for the team's scrimmage on Wednesday.

"He looked good," coach Pete DeBoer said. "I think he could have scrimmaged, we just held him out. I'm sure he will (Wednesday)."

Hampered by injury in each of his first two NHL campaigns, Josefson is hoping to stay healthy in 2012-13. He'll also be looking to apply the experience he's gained in Albany: the 20th overall pick in 2009, Josefson has eight goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the Devils' top affiliate this season.

"It feels like I got to take a lot of responsibility on the ice and be on the ice in important situations," Josefson said. "You grow as a player."

• This year's abbreviated camp leaves the coaching staff with one week to cram in about three weeks' worth of preparation. But with most of his player core intact from last season, DeBoer is pleased with his team's progress.

"I like where we're at mentally," he said. "Obviously, conditioning and game speed is something that takes awhile to get, but the guy's are working at it. It's nice having probably 18 guys in that room that know how we want to play so it's really refreshing their memories and not teaching from scratch. That's been helpful this week."

DeBoer is looking forward to Ilya Kovalchuk's return on Wednesday and expects Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg to be a little busier with Kovalchuk back on the ice.

"I talked to Marty, I don't think Marty had a shot against in the scrimmage," DeBoer said. "I think everyone will be happy Ilya will be here. He's a great player, he's a good team guy, (his late arrival to camp) is a dead issue as far as I'm concerned."

Ex-Devil and MSG analyst Ken Daneyko added his own take on Kovalchuk while DeBoer fielded questions on Tuesday.

"He's not as good a figure skater as I am," Daneyko said, referring to the now infamous clip of Kovalchuk's pairs figure skating routine at the KHL All-Star game. Back in 2009, Daneyko performed his own routine in CBC's Battle of the Blades.

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