Day Two - Afternoon session
Monday, 09.14.2009 / 1:06 PM / News
By Eric Marin
|Brian Rolston sneaks to the front of the net on goalie Gerald Coleman.|
Together, Parise, Zajac and Langenbrunner each reached offensive career highs last season as the Devils' top line, but Rolston, who spent three years with Lemaire in Minnesota, said the Devils' head coach could be looking for balance.
Rolston has said he's hoping to get back to the 30-goal mark after an ankle injury forced him to miss 18 games last season, limiting him to 15 goals and 17 assists.
"I think it'll be an experimental thing for Jacques, but Jacques has always been a guy that tried to make the lines as even as possible to get a threat from every line," Rolston said. "Maybe that's what he's trying to do here. We had one line that carried us last year, and I'm sure that line will be together at times; sometimes they may not, to get other guys going."
Of course, Lemaire is likely to try even more combinations before training camp wraps up. The Devils' preseason opener is Wednesday at 7 p.m. against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.
"I think you're going to see a lot of different stuff," Zubrus said. "That's what camp is for. There's a lot of young kids, there's a lot of different things going on."
Zubrus skated between Patrick Davis and Niclas Bergfors on Sunday.
"First of all, you want to be out there moving a lot, there has to be a good pace," he said. "It's always fun when passes connect and plays that you're trying to develop work and things like that. Yesterday I was with two young kids and they were good, too. That's what camp is for. The purpose is just to get the pace going. It's too early to talk about chemistry."
Zubrus was upbeat about the first two days of on-ice sessions with Lemaire.
"There's more creativity and movement, for a forward anyway," he said. "There's more hockey sense involved and more recognizing what's wrong, what's right. There's a structure to everything, but there's still a part where you have to recognize plays. There's a lot more movement, especially in the neutral zone, offensively too. We're doing some things that will work – a lot of it is developed on speed."
The quick pace has been a constant theme at camp to this point. Scrimmages have included high-intensity play and body contact, while one-on-one puck possession drills have left skaters visibly fatigued.
"It's about getting back in game shape," Rolston said. "You go out there, you work hard and get yourself prepared for your first exhibition game. What I like to do is just keep working as hard as I can and get back into game shape, where I need to be. That's what's most important: getting your timing on things like passing and shooting, all those things."
Rolston's time with Lemaire means he's already more familiar than most with the Lemaire's system, but he trusts that the club's veterans will adapt to it in time.
"It's the same system I played in Minnesota, for sure," he said. "Obviously, I'm playing left wing and that's a lot more comfortable for me, so a lot of things are working in my favor right now. It just makes it more of a pleasure for me to come to the rink. I'm excited about a new season and a fresh start – I think we all are."
• Rolston has started wearing a visor and will keep it on for the regular season.
"My kids and my wife have been asking me for a long time to be wearing a shield," he said. "I never did, obviously, for certain reasons, then I came into camp and saw a guy like Shanny wearing one. It's a different day and age in this game, everybody wears a shield for the most part, there's a few guys in the League that don't. Getting later in my career, also, I think it's just a smart thing to do.
It took him a few days to get adjusted.
"Now I'm used it," he said. "It makes you a little braver in certain situations, I have to say that."
2:24 p.m. – Group breaks up to work on the same one-on-one drill that ended the morning's session.
2:22 p.m. – Yann Danis out of the net for white in an empty-net simulation during the scrimmage.
2:04 p.m. – Coleman replaces McKenna in net for white.
1:57 p.m. – Michael Swift centering Nathan Perkovich and Adam Henrique for black. On defense for white: Colin White-Mike Mottau, Jay Leach-Cory Murphy.
1:50 p.m. – Niclas Bergfors (black) skating on the right side of a line with Rod Pelley at center and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond at left. Mike McKenna in net for white, Gerald Coleman goaltending for black, alternating with Yann Danis.
1:29 p.m. – Ice being resurfaced for the afternoon scrimmage. Interesting new look with line of Dainius Zubrus, wearing black, centering Brian Rolston at left and Jamie Langenbrunner on the right side.
1:07 p.m. – Today's afternoon scrimmage is underway.