Volchenkov in, Larsson out vs. Bolts

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
11:43
AM ET
Defenseman Anton Volchenkov returns to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a lower-body injury, while rookie Adam Larsson will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

Volchenkov, who declined to elaborate on the cause or nature of the injury, said it was only a minor issue and that he's eager to return with five games left remaining before the playoffs begin.

"I'm ready to go. It's not major, just a small injury, but now it feels better."

Larsson, who was scratched Tuesday against the Blackhawks, will watch from upstairs once again as the Devils host the Bolts. The young blue-liner has struggled since returning from a lower back bruise last month.

"We had one of our assistant coaches sit with him during the Chicago game and watch the play with him, point out things that we felt would help him, maybe when he got back in [to] get back in a little quicker and help him be more successful," DeBoer said.

But the Devils coach made it clear he's not holding Larsson's hand throughout the process or coddling the rookie in any way.

"There's lots of communication there but it's not a daily conversation for me. This time of year, we've got a lot of bigger things on our plate.," DeBoer said. "Adam Larsson's a big part of our team moving forward, but he's not the focal point. The focal point is our team and how we're playing."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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