TROY, NY — Coming off back-to-back losses, Head Coach Rick Kowalsky put the Albany Devils through their paces during Tuesday’s practice at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. The day began with a 25 minute skills session with the defensemen followed by an hour and a half full-out practice.
“We wanted today to be a hard day not just because of the two losses, but because we have time to do it,” Kowalsky said. “Our condition can be better and we can use this week for that.”
The Devils lay idle until a pair of home contests this weekend: vs. Hershey Friday (7 pm) and vs. St. John’s Saturday (5 pm). Albany will try and return to the play that led to their 5-0-0-0 start.
“We’re going to cover a lot this week and really simplify things as far as systems,” Kowalsky said. “We have some new guys that aren’t fully up to speed as far as how we want to play and therefore they have left some holes in our game. We have a full week to do some things individually and as a team with video and then we’re going to make sure that guys are working hard to prepare for Friday.”
• REASSURING THE BLUELINE
Two players not in the lineup during the team’s 4-0 loss at Hershey last Saturday were Vojtech Mozik and Karl Stollery. Mozik was participating in New Jersey’s three-game road trip and Stollery was sidelined with a lower-body injury.
“They add to the depth and we can maybe alleviate some of the minutes that a guy like Josh Jacobs or Steven Santini play until they find their game and get comfortable. The other night they got thrown into some situations that maybe they wouldn’t have if we had more depth on defense. That’s part of the process; it’s still good for them, but Stollery and Mozik will certainly solidify our back end.”
In the +/- category, Mozik’s +4 is second only to Stollery’s +5.
• CLOSE TO VICTORY
The Devils came out of the gate flying this season, only to come back to the pack during their last five games. Since Oct. 26, the team is 1-4-0-0.
However, Kowalsky doesn’t think it will take much for Albany to get its game heading back in the right direction.
“It’s the old saying: ‘you’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as you think you are,’” he said. “We’re not far off, we’re not playing extremely poorly, I just think we have letdowns and we have individuals that are taking away from the team game with some decisions. We just need to dictate the pace, the physicality of the game and then we have to be sharper with the puck.”