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Training Camp

Hall could play first game since December for Devils this weekend

Forward says repaired knee 'has held up pretty well' in training camp

by Mike. G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Taylor Hall could play his first game since December this weekend for the New Jersey Devils.

The forward missed the final 47 games last season and had arthroscopic surgery in February to remove fragments from his left knee. The Devils play preseason games against the New York Rangers on Friday and the New York Islanders on Saturday.

"I've felt good," Hall said. "I think there's maybe a couple things I want to feel a little bit better on, but for the most part I can't complain. My energy has felt good every day after [practice], and this is a pretty hard training camp, so you're putting yourself through a lot and the knee has held up pretty well so far.

"I'm just going to keep pushing it, and when I talk to the medical staff, we'll see what games they want to put me in, if any, but things are trending pretty well."

Hall had 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games last season. In 2017-18, he won the Hart Trophy voted as the most valuable player in the NHL after scoring an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games.

"We're going to talk about [Hall possibly playing a game this weekend] on Thursday, but we had talked about either him playing two or three games," Devils coach John Hynes said. "He had a pretty good practice [Wednesday] so we'll see how he is Thursday. There's a chance he will play but no guarantee."

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Hall is wearing a support brace on the knee as a precaution, which he said hasn't hindered his ability in practice.

"[The brace] is not going to change the way I feel," Hall said. "Throughout the season you see guys wearing knee braces all the time; it's about adding a layer of stability on that knee. If you can get used to it, it's probably a good thing.

"I remember talking with (Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman) Bobby Orr a while back, and he always wondered why hockey players don't wear braces in the first place."

Hall, who last played Dec. 23, didn't commit to playing this weekend but said he is hoping to play one or two preseason games at some point. The Devils, who played split-squad games Monday and against the Rangers on Wednesday, have games at the Boston Bruins on Sept. 25 and at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 27. New Jersey opens the regular season against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 4

"When you're 27 years old and have played nine years, I don't think I'm ever going to feel like a 16-year-old hockey player again, and especially with training camp when no one is really 100 percent," Hall said. "I can say [the knee] definitely feels above 95 percent and I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at for sure."

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