Janssen: 'Absolutely ready to rock'
|Janssen played 95 games with the Devils from 2005-06 to 2006-07, recording 205 penalty minutes.
After skating with the fourth line in Tuesday’s practice, the hard-hitting forward is hoping to crack the lineup for Thursday’s home meeting with the Kings.
“No one’s said anything to me yet about being in the lineup or not being in or whatever the case is," Janssen said. "I just go out there and I practice and I stay on afterwards and get my work done that I need to get done.
"Whatever happens Thursday, I’ll have a lot of energy built up in my system that needs to get let out. There’s only so much you can let out during practice, so whatever decision he makes, I am absolutely ready to rock. We’ll just have to see Thursday.”
That energy release has been a long time coming. Janssen’s last regular-season appearance as a Devil was March 30, 2007. The following September, he dislocated his shoulder in a preseason fight with Philadelphia’s Jesse Boulerice and would miss more than half the season. He was traded to the Blues for Bryce Salvador in February 2008.
After three-plus campaigns in St. Louis, Janssen signed with the Devils in July and made four preseason appearances. The 6-0, 215-pounder is chomping at the bit.
“I worked so hard this summer. All that hard work put in… preseason’s preseason,” Janssen said. “This is showtime now. It’s time to use what you’ve worked for, and not to mention a new team, new faces, new everything, new building.”
Coach Peter DeBoer took a look at Janssen with Rod Pelley at left wing and Brad Mills at center.
“I think what we’re looking for out of our third and fourth line is some energy and some desperation to stay in the lineup,” DeBoer said. “That’s created when you have guys sitting there waiting to get in."
The Devils improved to 1-1-0 with Monday’s 4-2 win over Carolina. Zach Parise scored twice, Ilya Kovalchuk tallied a goal and two assists, and Johan Hedberg made 24 saves.
Pelley, like Janssen, is still looking to make his season debut.
“Anxious … there’s probably a lot of words to describe it, but I wouldn’t even use it,” Pelley said. “I’m ready. I want to get a shot. I’m ready to go.”
Fans will know when Janssen’s on the ice throwing his board-rattling checks. But experience has taught him to pick his spots.
“When it’s needed, when my energy’s needed, to get in on that forecheck and to be on that backcheck, and the fighting and the hitting, I’m there,” said Janssen. “But whenever I get the puck in my own zone and I need a calm look, make a play, get it out, and that’s when you need to tone it down. So there’s different areas and different parts of the game where you need to be wild and go and go and go, and there’s other parts where you need to calm down, look, make the play, settle down, get your points, do whatever.”
More than anything, Janssen wants to suit up for the home team at the Rock.
“I sat in the stands last game and it is an absolutely gorgeous building,” he said. “It feels like the fans are right there. It’s awesome, so I can’t wait to feel that. If the opportunity presents itself, I can’t wait to feel that atmosphere and that presence from the fans being right on top of you. It’s going to be fun. Whenever it’s my chance, it’s going to be fun.”