For the first time in nearly a month, the New Jersey Devils could count on their captain’s presence at practice on Monday.
When Jack Hughes returns to action on Saturday after a two-week absence, Nico Hischier will have to show patience instead. The center has only played in seven games so far this season and has been sidelined since Oct. 27 because of a hit by Buffalo Sabers defenseman Connor Clifton.
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The Swiss was back with his teammates, taking reps at the center of a trio completed by Jesper Bratt and Max Willman.
While this move proves to be a step in the right direction, head coach Lindy Ruff would not confirm whether Hischier will be able to play in his team’s next game, Wednesday night in Detroit against the Red Wings.
“We don’t have a short-term schedule, we’ll see how he behaves in training,” the 63-year-old said at a press conference. We’ll see where he is tomorrow [mardi]. I believe that no option should be ruled out at this point.”
According to The Hockey News, Hischier began skating solo about a week ago.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the timing of his return to action, the 24-year-old’s presence in the group was felt.
“It’s good to see him back on the ice,” Ruff said. I believe that the discovery of Nico has breathed new life into our players.”
Without its captain, New Jersey suffered five regular-season losses and won just four games in nine games. However, it should be borne in mind that Hughes was also without Hughes in five of these games.
Before suffering his upper body injury, Hischier had scored two goals. His team had gone 4-2-1 when he was in the lineup.