Some quick notes from the Devils Training Camp:
Hot News opening day: New coach John MacLean asked Ilya Kovalchuk to switch to right wing in order to play with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. Asked for his reaction Kovy said: “These are two great players. To play with them I would play in goal.” Despite being a right-handed shot, the Russian has always played left wing. Interesting coaching move on the opening day of camp.
Jason Arnott skated with Patrik Elias, his former line mate in his first stint as a Devil, along with Jamie Langenbrunner. Arnott and Elias combined for the winning goal in the 2000 Stanley Cup victory. Both forwards kidded about the return of Petr Sykora, the third member of the famous “A” Line. “When the deal first happened, Patrik was the first guy I called,” Arnott said. “He was the first guy that I hoped that I’d get back to playing with. He was a big reason that I wanted to come back and play here again and, obviously, to win again. But he was a big part of it.”
Langenbrunner’s take was a little different. “ Who knows what’s going to happen?” he was quoted. “It is the first day and they put three old guys together to see what happens. I love playing with those two guys. We’ll see what the future brings.”
Getting off to a quick start MacLean installed a few new offensive wrinkles that pleased all the forwards. With the emphasis on puck control and positioning the players look forward to delivering the scoring potential the team has on paper.
“We have to attack the other team,” he explained. “There’s a few trigger points for it to get going forward, and I think the guys coming through the neutral zone with some speed and getting the puck in and getting in on the forecheck, I think we need to use that to our advantage.”
One bright light early in the camp is Jacob Josefson, the Swedish center who was the team’s first-round pick in 2009. Coming
off two seasons with Djugardens in the Swedish Elite League, he is centering a line between Danius Zubrus and David Clarkson. In an intra-squad game over the weekend he scored a short-handed goal on Marty Brodeur that was quite a thrill for the rookie. With quick hands, good puck movement and fast feet, the kid looks like a potential addition to the team.
There are two different currents running through the entire pre-season process. The first, a feeling of great expectations for the coming season is tempered by the knowledge that some veterans will be traded to get the team’s total payroll under the cap. Danius Zubrus and Bryce Salvador, along with Colin White are in the threatened salary range. While no one wants to see a fellow player leave the inevitable axe must fall. It is just a matter of when.
Tuesday night the team travels to Philadelphia. Let the good times roll!