Devils wrap up preseason vs. Isles tonight
|Niclas Bergfors is among the rookies battling for a roster spot in 2009-10.|
Jersey's Team (3-0-1) is hoping to go undefeated in regulation this preseason. Martin Brodeur will make his third straight start following his 1-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. He has allowed just two goals in two preseason contests.
Tonight will mark the Devils debut of recently-acquired forward Rob Niedermayer, who was signed on Friday. He practiced with the team on Monday and centered a line with Brendan Shanahan and Niclas Bergfors.
"Just have to play smart out there, and try to be in good position," Niedermayer said of his approach for tonight. "That's the biggest thing – you don't want to be chasing the puck."
Niedermayer had been practicing with Kootenay (WHL) before arriving in New Jersey on Sunday, but knows he has to get re-adjusted to the NHL pace.
"It's always a good test," he said. "You can work out in the summer, but until you get bumped around in games, you don't really know where you're at."
Does a 15-year veteran still get nervous for a fresh start with a new team?
"I think you always do," said Niedermayer, who has made 1,011 NHL appearances. "If you don't have that, then you don't get excited about it. I think, for sure, you feel it a little."
A roster spot is less certain for Bergfors, who views tonight's game as one last chance to stand out to the coaching staff.
"That's where my mind is right now," Bergfors said. "It's the last game of this camp, and I have to make a good impression. I don't know if they want me still or not. Of course, I'll go hard tonight."
After a career year with Lowell last season (22g-29a-51pts), Bergfors has enjoyed a solid training camp with a goal and three assists in four preseason games.
"I'm not disappointed; I'm pretty satisfied," he said. "I know that with my preparation, I've done my absolute best and they gave me an honest chance to go out there and do my best. It's been pretty good."
After only a couple of practices together, Bergfors could see why Niedermayer will be an asset this season.
"He's a little bit like Shanny, I guess," he said. "He's always in the right position. You look up and he's there where he's supposed to be when you get the puck. He's a smart player; I know he's a great player."
Fourteen skaters were on the ice for today's morning skate, which was optional for those playing in tonight's preseason finale against the Islanders.
Forwards: David Clarkson, Matt Halischuk, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Rod Pelley, Niclas Bergfors, Andrew Peters, Rob Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan.
Defensemen: Andy Greene, Jay Leach, Cory Murphy, Mike Mottau.
Martin Brodeur and Yann Danis were in goal.
Assistant coaches Mario Tremblay, Scott Stevens and Tommy Albelin are on the ice, along with Lowell goaltending coach Chris Terreri.