ALBANY, NY — The Devils organization did a bit of a goaltender shuffle Monday. Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid swapped spots on the NHL and AHL roster and Maxime Clermont was reassigned to Orlando (ECHL). While Clemmensen and Kinkaid participated in New Jersey’s morning skate along with Cory Schneider, Scott Wedgewood was the only goaltender present at Albany’s skate at Knickerbacker Ice Arena.
All of movement left Head Coach Rick Kowalsky and his staff to plan practice a little differently.
“Well it’s not so much that it’s difficult to plan a practice as much as on short notice since it’s an important practice,” Kowalsky said. “We were able to get through with [it and] the guys are in good spirits. I liked the pace; I liked our execution. Those are the two things that I was harping on today.
“It’s a little harder on the goaltender and guys don’t quite get as many reps, but we were able to get through some different things. I think we get what we wanted accomplished but there’s certainly some times that’s tough and if you don’t play for a couple days, it’s a different story. Like I said, this was an important practice and I think we got what we needed out of it.”
Part of the practice was spent on special teams — specifically the power play. The Devils went 0-7 with the man advantage in their 2-1 overtime loss against Portland. The performance was a bit of a question mark, considering the team entered the game ranked fourth in the league with a 23.5 percentage.
“The focus was more just about moving the puck, letting the puck do the work, snapping it around which they started to do. I thought we got a little stagnant the other night. I still think we can shoot more. When we’ve had success, whether we’ve scored or not, it’s been a result of putting pucks to the net with good traffic in front, which I think in any power play, it’s the basic recipe for success.”
11 AM Start
The Devils next test comes during a rare 11 am game agains the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday at XL Center. Even though the Devils have played in “School Day Games” before, they still are not very common.
“These games scare me, because I’ve been involved in them and involved in them as a player and as a coach for years — even in the East coast league in Trenton — and you never know what you’re going to get. It could be 11,000 screaming kids, which could be good or it could be bad. Some teams come out sleeping. Sometimes the guys are up and awake because it is practice time. We’ve got to be sharp and we’ve addressed it enough. We’re obviously going the night before even though it’s a short trip. We have to make sure guys get their rest and get some good meals in them. I think it’s more just about being focused and, for us, being sharp and getting back to our game.”
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