Amanda Stein reported yesterday that defenseman Damon Severson and forward Jesper Bratt have come out of COVID protocol and returned to practice.
She said the Devils’ COVID list now only has Janne Kuokkanen, Mason Geertsen and Dougie Hamilton on it.
This is an obvious help to the Devils, who have their games this weekend in Montreal (January 15) and Toronto (January 17) postponed, because it will give Severson and Bratt five days of practice and to get back into game condition before New Jersey plays its next game on Wednesday, January 19 versus Arizona.
Bratt told Stein: “I feel like we’re pretty fortunate with the schedule. I mean, unfortunately, I missed two games, but it seemed that we could have missed four. So, in this schedule we have coming up, I’m excited that we have almost a week now of practice and it’s gonna be good to get back into these (practices).”
Severson added: “I’m excited to come back, and we’re getting some bodies healthy again, a couple more guys, hopefully, the next few days come back of the protocol, with a few days before our next game.”
Stein pointed out that Severson will be spending time at practice getting back into things while having to do without activity during his quarantine.
Severson elaborated that “[j]ust putting a little extra work on the ice. Just making sure you put a few extra drills in between, making sure the hands are ready to shoot, just kind of little things like that maybe. I haven’t been able to really do that just sitting at home. So, yeah, a couple of little extra things here and there to make sure that I’m sharp.”
Devils coach Lindy Ruff is “very encouraged” by the players beginning to get healthy according to Stein. He said to her: “[w]ell, (it’s) encouraging when your team has been hit hard at different times. We’ve taken a couple of hits. One in mid-December, and now, this one early in January. So, (let’s) get everybody up and running and then just looking for a strong push.”
In other news, Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended by the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety yesterday for his illegal check to the head of AJ Greer in Thursday’s Devils loss at New York.
Johnston got three games without pay. According to the NHL Public Relations press release put out yesterday on the matter, “Johnston will forfeit $15,000.00” that will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Johnston did receive a minor penalty in the game for the infraction. The Devils have not had an update as to how Greer is doing and if there were any injuries sustained by him.