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Holik replaces injured Langenbrunner in Devils lineup

by Brian Compton
RALEIGH, N.C. – There was a scene at RBC Center on Sunday morning that Bobby Holik was obviously not looking forward to.

A herd of reporters gathered around his locker-room stall to get his reaction to A) replacing injured captain Jamie Langenbrunner in the lineup for Game 3 on Sunday night; and B) to find out how frustrating it was to be a healthy scratch for the first two matches at the Prudential Center.

Holik, though, wasn't in much of a mood to discuss either one. 

"I've never seen so many guys being interested in a guy who hasn't played a game yet," said the 38-year-old, who had just four goals and five assists in 62 games after signing a one-year deal with the Devils last summer.

That will change in Game 3. For Holik, it's an opportunity to prove New Jersey coach Brent Sutter wrong for going against dressing No. 16 for Games 1 and 2. The Devils earned a 4-1 victory in the series opener before dropping a 2-1 overtime decision on Friday night in Newark.

"I hope he's fired up, but I want him fired up in the right way," Sutter said of Holik. "We need discipline. I don't want any bad penalties.  I think Bobby will be ready to play. I know he's been itching to get going here and playing again.

"It's a situation where it's a numbers situation, and he was the odd man out of that. Now he gets an opportunity to back in and he has to respond the right way like a veteran has to. We expect that from him and we expect his leadership and experience to show. He's a good body and he can play a rugged style. But like I said, we need to do it with discipline."

If that was an issue in the past for Holik, the veteran claims he wasn't aware of it. That was the response he gave a reporter when asked if he's hoping to improve on the things that found him watching the first two games of this series.

"No, because I don't know what I was not doing correctly," he said. "I'm happy to be in the lineup.  Every 60 minutes in the playoffs is important. It takes four games to win, and tonight's one of them. It's one of the four we can win."
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