Devils Hold Optional Skate; Pietila Could Be In

ALBANY, NY – According to Head Coach Rick Kowalsky, the Albany Devils will look to add some “grit” to their lineup for Thursday’s Game 4 against the Utica Comets.

What the actual lineup changes will be are yet to be determined and Wednesday’s options practice did not allow anyone to draw conclusions. Reid Boucher, Yann Danis, Damon Severson and Paul Thompson were the only players to play Tuesday and skate Wednesday.

“At this point of the year you’re not skating to stay in shape,” Kowalsky said. “You are skating to stay sharp. We gave the guys basically the option to take the day off and skate in the pregame skate tomorrow or if they wanted to get on, get on today for a quick skate and take tomorrow off.”

Kowalsky said that Blake Pietila is available after missing the first three games of the best-of-five series with an upper-body injury.

Pietila has been practicing with the Devils’ second squad, which features mostly injured players and amateur tryouts.

“Obviously, everyone wants to play this time of year,” Pietila said. “The last few practices have been cleared for contact. I haven’t got hit a ton, but it’s been good.

”I feel good. It was one of those injuries that was kind of nagging and hangs around. We did some treatment and some things over the last week and it’s feeling a lot better now.”

During his rookie season, Pietila registered 17 points (10g-7a) in 58 games. He appeared in seven NHL games, debuting on Mar. 24 at Pittsburgh and scoring his first career goal on Mar. 31 at Florida.