ALBANY, NY — The normal afternoon silence at Times Union Center was interrupted by a rare 1 pm Albany Devils practice Thursday. The team is returning to work after enjoying Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off for the Holiday break.
“You get to sleep in a little bit more and you get an extra meal,” said fourth-year pro Dan Kelly. “It’s good to be back on the ice.”
The Devils are preparing for their first three-in-three weekend of the season. They host Adirondack Friday and Portland Saturday before traveling to Bridgeport Sunday. The crammed weekend is the first of 11 between now and the end of the season.
“We’ve talked about it,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We haven’t got to this point yet. I think the biggest thing is the fact it comes right after the break. Hopefully we are rested and can get as many of the cobwebs out here as possible before the first game. I think the biggest thing is you have to keep it simple. Keep your shifts short. It will take time to get back into game mode — hopefully not too long. Just keeping our game simple, which I think we have to do looking at this past weekend.”
Kelly is no stranger to three games in three days and over the years has developed some tricks of the trade.
“You have to take care of your body,” he said. “You have to take proper rest. It’s real smart getting to bed early to try and wind down quick and it’s a quick turnaround.
“Sleeping in your own bed helps a lot. Eating your own food. You get the quick turnaround going on the road Sunday. It will be a good test for our team.”
At the other end of the spectrum, rookie Seth Helgeson is gearing up for his first three-in-three. He spent the past four seasons at the University of Minnesota, registering 27 points (7g-20a) in 150 games.
“With talking with a couple of the guys, it’s mainly just keeping it simple; not try and do too much,” Helgeson said. “This year sometimes we’ve gotten into trouble by doing a little too much and taking away from our game. We have to just take it one game at a time and can’t be thinking about the next day.”
Albany returns to its regularly scheduled time slot Friday. They will hold a 10 am morning skate.