After a very brief training camp, the Devils hit the ice Monday night to tangle with the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Weekes started in net for the Devils, and in typical pre-season fashion, was replaced by Scott Clemmensen after 30 minutes of play.
There wasn’t too much to note in this game. The top line of Brian Rolston, Patrik Elias, and Brian Gionta couldn’t form any type of scoring opportunities, but it’s a new line so let’s give it a few days to develop.
Devils Coach Brent Sutter also spoke up after the game, unhappy about 19 of his 20 players’ ability on the ice. He praised Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (whose jersey must be hell to sew the last name on) who dropped the gloves twice to try and spark something in the team.
“We hadn’t worked on it at all the last two days,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “You rely on the experience of individuals on the ice. Certain guys who needed to play well did. Certain guys you thought would (play well), didn’t.”
Now normally I stick up for Sutter, as he has a very tough job in getting a defensive team to score. But come on, you gave the team two days of practice, and you are upset they didn’t play well? Not to mention that you have a grand number of wee-Devils and some new faces to the ice from last year – you need to give them a little time to form to each other.
Now of course this last comment is going to bite me in the rear come November when they still aren’t playing well…
In any case, I would like to thank the Philadelphia Flyers for broadcasting the game on their website – I just have one recommendation: if you don’t have announcers at the game, just plug the radio guys in to the video feed. It’s much better than silent hockey.
Some quick notes: watch for Leblond. He is not above fighting his way to an NHL spot, literally. He has a physical presence and hopefully can play enforcer without needing to drop the gloves every night. And don’t expect Sutter to keep the REG line together for very long. If there’s one thing I learned about Sutter last year, he will tweak the lines even after you have lost complete faith in him as a coach.