The Daily Gazette
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Gelinas ready for return, Kelly Zajac returns to practice

Two long-lost Devils are once again skating with Albany and nearing game-readiness.

The closest of the two is defenseman Eric Gelinas, who took a puck to the chin in the preseason. It wasn’t classified as a broken jaw, as there wasn’t damage along the jawbone, but right up front below the gum line.

He skated in Newark to keep conditioned, but just returned to team workouts last week. Wearing a full cage, he has been catching up on the nuances of the Devils’ systems and reacquainting himself with his teammates.

“He was skating down in New Jersey for a while, so I think, conditioning wise, he’s probably close,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “He just hasn’t had a lot of team practice. We’re going to try to get him in this weekend. But again, we just want to make sure he’s 100 percent ready to go, with this many guys that are healthy and available.”

“I feel pretty good now,” Gelinas said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’ve been skating hard in New Jersey to rehab. I’m ready. I’m ready to go back to playing hockey. I think the first game is going to be a big one for me. I haven’t been playing in two months, but I feel pretty ready for it.”

Left wing Kelly Zajac has been out with an abdominal injury, but he skated Wednesday with the Albany Devils for the first time since the preseason.

“I think it’ll be a little more time to get him acclimated with what we’re trying to do,” Kowalsky said. “These are guys who have been out since training camp. A lot has happened from then till now, whether it be systems or little adjustments we’ve made. And it’s tough to get them in right now because of the amount of healthy guys and guys who have been here, but we’re going to try to.”

The indefinitely-out status for left wing Jean-Sebastien Berube (upper body) remains unchanged. Defenseman Dan Kelly (upper body) missed the weekend in St. John’s and will miss at least this weekend. Right wing Scott Parse (lower body) has been skating and Kowalsky said he looks “pretty good — so far, so good.” He may be available for the weekend.

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