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Rolston, Madden skate in Monday's practice

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Rolston said Monday he's ready to return. – After six weeks on the shelf, Brian Rolston feels ready to return to the Devils' lineup.

Rolston skated with the team in Monday's practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion, as did John Madden, who has been sidelined for four games with a sore foot suffered Nov. 20 versus Florida.

"I feel OK," Rolston said. "I'm just going to get sharper as practices go on, catching passes and things like that. For the most part it felt good, and I'm shooting for Thursday [at Philadelphia]. I haven't talked to anybody, the coaches, about that but... I'm expecting to go and play on Thursday. We'll make that decision in the next couple of days, I'm sure."

Rolston, signed as a free agent on July 1, has missed 18 games with an ankle sprain sustained Oct. 16 at Atlanta. A member of the Devils' 1995 Stanley Cup championship, Rolston was brought back to New Jersey for his booming slapshot on the power play. He has a goal and an assist in four appearances this season.

"Let's see how they practice, and see how things progress over the next two days," Devils head coach Brent Sutter said of his two recovering forwards. "After you've gone through what we've gone through for the past two months, you keep your guard up. You just never know what can happen. It's optimism, let's put it that way. Let's see what transpires here over the next few days."

Rolston had been skating on his own before Monday, and was the first in a long line of Devils to catch the injury bug. Bobby Holik (broken pinkie) has been out since Oct. 18, and four-time Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur needed surgery to repair a biceps tendon he tore on Nov. 1. Andy Greene has been out of action since Oct. 29 with a broken hand. New Jersey has lost 81 man-games to injury.

The Devils ended November on a sour note Saturday, when their season-high five-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh. The club closes out its five-game road trip this Saturday in Montreal and returns for a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday, Dec. 10 against the Penguins.
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