Lemaire pleased with second day of camp
He was emphatic when asked if the second day of training camp had been an improvement over the first.
"Yes," Lemaire said. "It was good. Guys were skating well, were on the puck. They did a lot of good things. I think they're starting to understand what we're looking for, and they're doing it better and better, even the kids."
With players still adapting to the new system, some elements of Sunday's afternoon session had left Lemaire talking about room for improvement. But Monday's skate at AmeriHealth Pavilion put some of the veterans back together, creating some interesting new looks and better on-ice results.
"A lot of guys today, they went up," he said. "Their grades today are better than they were yesterday. But on the other hand, other guys, you could see a difference – a bigger difference."
Lemaire explained the veteran line combinations that put Travis Zajac between Zach Parise and Brendan Shanahan, and Dainius Zubrus between Brian Rolston and Jamie Langenbrunner shouldn't be taken as permanent.
In both cases, the veterans simply happened to be skating in the same session and were consolidated onto the same lines.
"You can't think these guys will be together because of what you saw this morning," he said, adding that if any line performed well together, they could potentially stay together.
The Devils open the preseason at home against the New York Rangers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Lemaire said he already knows his lineup, and that he expects to make his first cuts once that game is played.
"I want to start to work with less guys," he said. "If you cut it down, the competition will rise. That's how it works."
Prospect Patrice Cormier (3/54, 2008) centered Parise and Shanahan on Sunday; Jay Pandolfo and David Clarkson on Monday.
"There's a lot of guys that stood out, like Cormier did," Lemaire said. "He played fine."