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White returns to familiar waters

Ex-Devil back in New Jersey as member of the Sharks

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 1:27 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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White returns to familiar waters
When you spend over a decade with one team, coming into their building as a visitor can throw you for a loop.

Colin White patrolled the Devils blue line for 11 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. Now a Shark, he’ll be the opponent in tonight’s meeting with San Jose.

“It was different coming down to the rink, definitely,” White said today. “I walked out on the bench and saw the guys out there skating, a lot of familiar faces, a lot of friends.”

White signed with San Jose after the Devils bought out the final year of his contract over the summer. The Nova Scotia native made 743 regular season appearances with New Jersey, another 111 in the playoffs.

“I enjoyed it,” White said. “It was an honor to play for that organization. We had some success and there were ups and downs, but I had a really good time, I enjoyed it. They were great to my family and I made a lot of friends here.”

He was excited to find a new home with a contender – the Sharks have been to back-to-back conference finals and are projected to be in the mix again this season.

“It doesn’t last forever,” White said. “You definitely want another chance to win again.”

Despite his team’s 1-3-0 start, he feels the Sharks have all the right pieces for another deep run. Captain Joe Thornton will play in his 1,000th game tonight.

“Look around the room, look at the veteran guys we have, and even the young guys,” he said. “Veterans like Joe Thornton, Patty Marleau, Dan Boyle – these guys have been real close and they’re hungry. Then you’ve got the young guys like Logan Couture, they’re great young players. I believe in this room.”

Patrik Elias expects fans at Prudential Center to give the ex-Devil a warm reception.

“I hope a good one, a positive one,” Elias said. “He’s been a big part of this team for the past [11] years. A great teammate, you could always count on him to do his job. He works hard. I’m pretty sure he’ll have a little bit of butterflies for the first few minutes, but he’ll be fine.”

Elias played his first full season in 1997-98, two years before White broke into the League.

“He’s been a big part of this organization, especially for the time I’ve been here, obviously,” said Elias. “He came in a year or maybe two years after me, since then we played together. I look back at 2003, it’s only me and Marty left in this locker room, so you’ve seen everybody leave already.”

For a couple of hours, at least, White will put his friendships on hold to try and pick up a win against the team that took him in the second round of the 1996 Entry Draft. The Devils (3-1-0) are riding a three-game winning streak.

“Like anything, it’s a game and after the game we’re friends again,” White said. “That’s just the way it is. There are friends on pretty much every team when you’ve been around a long time, trades through our careers and stuff. It’s just a first for me, it’s something different, but it’s been fun.”

• The Devils have been off since last Saturday – all the more reason that Peter DeBoer wants his club ready to go at puck drop.

“They’re dangerous – obviously one of the best teams in the League and not where they want to be, which tells you there’s going to be some desperation in their game tonight, which makes them very dangerous,” the coach said. “We have to be prepared for that. You have to be ready to outwork their best players because they’re hard-working guys.”

 Martin Havlat makes his Sharks debut tonight following offseason shoulder surgery.

“They’re a talented team and he’s another talented weapon they’re adding to the arsenal,” DeBoer said. “It doesn’t change the game plan but it is  another guy you have to deal with, and obviously spreads their offense over two lines, which makes the matchup difficult.”
The Devils will go with the same top three lines they have used in practice this week. Rod Pelley will center the fourth line with Eric Boulton and Brad Mills. Cam Janssen will be a healthy scratch. He saw limited ice time in Saturday’s shootout win in Nashville, but did drop the gloves for a spirited bout with Brian McGrattan.

“We’ve talked since Day 1 about a push on a nightly basis to stay in the lineup,” said DeBoer. “Sometimes decisions are made not because of a guy’s effort. Obviously Jans gave us everything he could give us last game. He’ll be back in the lineup sooner than later. But we want that push from underneath on a nightly basis for all the spots.”

Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Jacob Josefson - Nick Palmieri
Mattias Tedenby - Petr Sykora - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Rod Pelley - Brad Mills

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Johan Hedberg (Keith Kinkaid)