ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils got their first feel of the Times Union Center ice Wednesday, shifting their operation to their game-day home after three sessions at Knickerbacker Ice Arena in Troy, NY. The team’s training camp continues to progress towards opening night on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Hartford (3 pm).
“It’s good to be back in the home facility,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We’ve been back in town for a while, but the ice hasn’t been in until today. The ice held up well and it’s good to be back here in the friendly confines of our own building.”
Wednesday’s practice precedes Thursday’s preseason contest at Hartford — puck drop is at 7 pm. More than two weeks have passed since most of the players reported to New Jersey’s camp. Kowalsky will use Thursday’s game to gauge how the players have adjusted to the systems the organization has implemented.
“The biggest thing is you want to see how hard the kids compete,” Kowalsky said. “You want them to battle, you want them to compete. Secondly, everything we’ve implemented. Most of these guys, with the exception of [four], have been with us since the start of training camp in New Jersey. They have had a lot of time to digest. We’ve gone over systems pretty much every day whether it has been with video or in practice. We want to see who is catching onto this.”
Moments after today’s practice, New Jersey announced the assignment of eight players to Albany: goaltender Scott Wedgewood, defensemen Brandon Burlon, Eric Gelinas andJon Merrill and forwards Stefan Matteau, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo.
Albany’s roster is setting up to be youthful and full of potential.
“There’s certainly some good young players who will be with us this year,” Kowalsky said. “Obviously, we are going to look to some guys — we are going to be young this year. We knew that coming in and that’s a good thing. There’s a lot of energy and guys are eager to learn.
“There is a lot of open competition as far as potential recalls moving forward. You want these guys to be hungry and come to the rink everyday wanting to prove they could or want to be the next guy. This year, out of the three [years] I’ve been here as far as young prospects on the backend and up front, this is probably the most we’ve seen.”
Forwards (17): Reid Boucher, Riley Boychuk, Alexandre Carrier, Artem Demkov, Dmitry Goldenkov, Mike Hoeffel, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Harri Pesonen,Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Ben Thomson, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac