Day 13: New Jersey Devils Training Camp
I’ll have more photos sometime this week. I actually need to upload them all and take a look at them. Writing about Training Camp took top priority.
When you read Day Two…I have to admit, I had to throw in the lighter side of hockey in there, which included some quotes from this guy, that if media was able to vote for captaincy, I would be throwing my vote in for him. He had me laughing so much at some of his comments. I’m saving the best parts for part 2 of his interview series. [That should be a complete giveaway who I'm talking about here.]
While I tweeted yesterday that no one stood out to him in camp, I think that may have upset a few Devils fans. But it’s his explanation on why he said, “No,” that will help you understand that it’s all about everyone being so happy to be back to playing hockey again.
At the start of every season, I usually find someone that really sticks out to me…a new guy that’s vying for a spot on the roster. Last year, Matt Taormina was my pick. I just loved watching the way he and Colin White skated with symmetry on the blueline. I had never seen anything like it before. It was just so beautiful to watch.
This year, I have two picks. One of them…he’s not really that new. The other one…he’s not really that new to Coach Lemaire. Actually, neither one of them is new to Lemaire.
I’m talking about Petr Sykora and Stephane Veilleux. Watching those two execute plays together out on the ice makes me want to jump up out of my seat and cheer every single time I see a goal. Oh wait, I’m media…sitting my derriere back down. [Quietly screaming "YEAH!" inside.]
That’s the kind of stuff that makes you think…I’m so happy hockey is back in session. That’s the stuff I love about hockey…chemistry between teammates to make a play a winning play. It’s just beautiful.
Sykora really made an impression during scrimmages today. He tallied a hat trick to give his team the win. But 2-18 in faceoff wins…at least we know where he needs to focus. You win some and you lose some.
I just got a couple of tweets from Stephane’s agent…my favorite guy to watch IS making the team. So happy to hear it…BEFORE I leave the country. Gotta say, Stephane is one of the nicest hockey players I’ve ever met. He’s right up there with Georges Laraque (which to you guys may sound crazy…or maybe it’s just they’re nice to me…I’m sure Buddy Oakes would say that it’s just me and have video footage to prove it).
One item I’ve kept quiet about all throughout the Parise contract talks was what I wanted to see before jumping on the multi-year contract bandwagon…I needed to see if the Parise of old had returned…or a new and improved Parise was here…or a Parise that is not the same anymore has shown up at camp. The good thing about starting back in camp is that everyone should be on the same conditioning scale.
Throwing him in at the end of the season after not playing a game in months, while his teammates have been going strong all season, is not a good way to visually see how he’s progressed post-surgery. Training camp, on the other hand, is the appropriate time to see what Parise has to offer and gauge what type of player we have here.
In my honest opinion, it looks like the Parise of old has returned…BUT I need to see him in a few games. I only caution fans not to pressure him in scoring goals or place high expectations on him yet. The goals will come…especially if Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus get the nod to hit the top line with Parise. I’ll be calling them the PEZ dispenser line.
Now, I wasn’t going to mention this at all, but I think I am. Ahem, David Clarkson. Have you seen the David Clarkson photos I took from the golf tournament? He looked like he was having a lot of fun out there, right? He told me not to talk to Martin Broduer anymore about the way he dresses. Truthfully, Marty tells me…I never ask him about Clarky. NEVER! I was interviewing Clarky in California once and Marty came up behind us and said something about Clarky’s outfit. I DID NOT ASK MARTY! He just offers these little gems up…which I then pass along to all of you. And Marty laughs at it all. Who said the most winningest doesn’t have a sense of humor?
[By the way, Clarky...this being my final season and all...it's all going into this book I'm writing about the New Jersey Devils and my final season covering you guys. You will be immortalized...or those Puma shorts you wear every year to the golf course will be...or maybe I'll immortalize you with all of these Brodeur gems. He's got to have a few more up his sleeve this season. Don't worry, I'll sign a copy of the book just for you.]
Speaking of the book…this season, I’ll be doing my growing up hockey pieces on each of the players that make the roster. Currently, I have Kovalchuk, Clarkson and Parise. I’ll have to collect the rest of the team throughout the season. Each member will have their own little chapter on how they made it to this team this season. I’m interested in seeing who becomes part of that final roster while I’m in Europe and Africa.
Something that I tweeted about yesterday that we are experimenting with in preseason is the FlipCam. I did a mock (meaning it won’t be released) taping of Johan Hedberg yesterday just to get a look at how the quality would turn out as well as the audio. We’re still toying around with the idea. I’m also trying to get used to the camera.
Using the FlipCam is actually a new idea for both the Devils and the Rangers. The idea was originally to use the FlipCam while I was in Prague and Zug to do the more ‘fun’ interviews with the Rangers. It will give fans the opportunity to get to know their team in a different way.
For both the Devils and the Rangers, this is a new concept to allow a writer to do video, photos and writing all in one swoop. Teams are still brand new to social media…so moving forward technologywise in news reporting…adding video to interview content by a writer (and not by a video or TV person)…is new to both teams. Both will be experimenting with seeing whether we can begin to add this kind of content to the media content out there (as a writer).
Traditionally, a writer just writes. A photographer takes photos. A videographer does video. Each is credentialed in under each heading. Sure, there are some writers who are also photographers. But doing all three? That is a new concept that we’re working on this preseason.
Videos will not be in scrums. They will only be one on one.
Because this is a new concept for the Devils and Rangers, we’re developing the rules and type of content that will be generated as we go along. When I first got the FlipCam, the Rangers mentioned they wanted more ‘fun’ player interviews to go up as content. Whether we do the same for the Devils, remains to be seen. Like I said, we’re developing the rules as we go along to see if this will even work for all parties.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind just letting David Clarkson talk about fighting in the league and other controversial stuff that comes up. We agree to disagree on our opinions on it…but his take is always very interesting. You can say, that kid teaches me something every single time. It’s never mainstream but it is thought provoking.
We will be doing video content in Montreal when Georges Laraque cooks for me (and possibly Winter Adams). Also, the Devils MIGHT meet Winter in Montreal when we do the segment with Georges. If she does come up, she may be heading to the locker room to do special interviews with the Devils. Guys, you better raise your hand if you want to be the lucky guy to be interviewed by the pretty lady this December. I think she falls under HOT reporters or SEXY sports reporters on Youtube or something (which cracks me up that guys find her videos using those terms).
At any rate…Day 13 is done and over with. It was my first and last training camp. The rest of this week will be filled with packing, running pre-travel errands and cleaning the apartment since I’ll have a sitter for the little princess while I’m away. I’ll be posting random Devils stuff the rest of this week.
Next week, we’ll be focusing on Travel, Travel, Travel and the Rangers in Europe. I’m thinking that Sean Avery is going to be on my radar. Blame Strombo for this.