-- Devils goalie Martin Brodeur
sensed his injured right shoulder was improving before he got on the ice Thursday morning.
"Now I'm able to shave and put gel in my hair with no issue," Brodeur said while laughing. "Two days ago I couldn't do that."
More important than his clean-cut look is that now Brodeur also knows he's able to hold his stick in his blocker hand and move the puck around the ice with little to no pain at all.
Two days ago he couldn't do that, either.
Brodeur has been out since injuring his right shoulder in the first period against Los Angeles last Thursday. He had a MRI taken on Tuesday and the Devils announced Wednesday that Brodeur will be out at least 7-10 more days as he continues to rehab his shoulder, but the team also made a point to say surgery is not going to be necessary.
Goalie - NJD
GAA: 3.00 | SVP: 0.900
"It was feeling pretty good, but I came to a point where I wasn't getting better for two days, so for precaution we went for an MRI," Brodeur said. "I talked to our doctor and another doctor to make sure it was OK for me to continue rehabbing and make sure I wouldn't damage it worse. They all said go ahead, try to rehab it. Mentally it helps you when you know there is nothing that is going to affect it."
Devils coach Pete DeBoer was as relieved as Brodeur upon hearing that the goalie wouldn't need surgery. DeBoer is confident that Johan Hedberg
(3-0, 1.41 goals-against average) can hold down the net until Brodeur returns, but he's also well aware of how important Brodeur is to the team and its fan base.
"I slept a lot better last night," DeBoer said. "He's obviously a critical piece here and it was nice to get that news, to know he'll be back soon."
Brodeur admitted that he was nervous heading into his MRI on Tuesday.
"I didn't feel like going through what I did three years ago," said Brodeur, who missed 50 games in 2008-09 with a torn biceps tendon. "Whenever you're getting MRIs it's because they feel something is wrong. It's nice to have my head clear on the results and the advice of the doctors I saw. I was pretty pleased that both guys said the same thing."
He felt happy after his morning skate Thursday prior to the Devils full team practice.
Brodeur, who hadn't been on the ice since injuring his shoulder, said he was able to move the puck around, passing, shooting and flipping it. He joked that he even scored a goal, but of course nobody was in the opposite net.
There is still lingering pain in his shoulder, but he mostly feels it when he's doing his off-ice rehab work. Brodeur said he felt no pain on the ice and he was not sore or aching after the workout, either.
"I'm at that step where I'm able to function with my equipment on without getting shots and having reaction yet," Brodeur said. "We'll do that for a few days and that's going to build all the muscle around where my bruise is. You have to make sure everything is clean in there and after that we'll be ready to start doing reaction work. It's still a process."
The next step is to get on the ice with the rest of the team so he can test his shoulder on reactionary moves. Brodeur is hoping to be able to join the team on its west coast trip to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas next week.
"But I have to listen to what my body is going to tell me," he said. "I might not improve for three days, and if I don't I'm not going to go on the trip. But if I start skating and getting shots more and more and more, the common sense would be to play with the guys, be with the guys."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl