Dean Speaks After Spirited Practice

— I’ll have some more notes and impressions from practice in a bit — I will now for sure be at tomorrow’s practice as well as media day — but let me pass along Kevin Dean’s comments from my chat with him outside the Trenton Devils locker room after today’s skate.

— On if the roster is set for opening night…

“I think we’re there. I’m preparing like this is our opening night roster, so whether we get players or not, I’m preparing like this is our group. I think that’s the way you have to approach it.”

— On if he knows which 10 forwards and six defensemen will skate on opening night…

“No, there’s still some competition going on. I think I do (know), but something could change in the next three days of practice.”

— On if he knows his opening night goalie…

“I think we’re pretty set on that, but we’ll see.”

— On if he’s named a captain and assistant captains…

“We’re talking about that now. I think we’re going to announce that tomorrow to the team. But I think we’ve narrowed that down to some extent. The team will know that first, but I think we know where we’re going to be there.”

— On how Albany having 29 guys affects him…

“It’s not too bad. I’m sure there will be points when I feel like we need different players, I might be like, ‘Oh man, I wish we had that kid that’s sitting out or whatever.’ But right now, I’m happy with what we’ve got. I think we’ve got enough to go out and compete and win. I’m just preparing with the guys that are here, and I’m not looking up to Albany for help or to anywhere else for help. I think the only people that really care about what happens to this team are in that room right there, and we’re going to go forward.”

— On if today’s physical practice has been the norm…

“You know, it’s gotten a little bit more physical the past couple of days. I think guys are getting edgy. There’s a lot of practices, and only two games, and not everybody played both games. I expect it to be that way again tomorrow, just knowing the guys. We’ll see what happens on Friday. But that’s pretty typical this time of year.”

— On his feel of his team through the two preseason games…

“Well, they were Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde games. The first game was a nightmare, I thought we were overwhelmed in a lot of areas, but we’re also very young in a lot of areas, so some of that’s to be expected. I thought our goaltender played really, really well up in Elmira. The second game, I inserted a couple of veterans in key positions — Tony Zancanaro playing up front, Jeremy Akeson played much better than he did the first night — just a lot of the problems we had the first night kind of went away with some veteran presence. That was important. Hopefully, we can carry the structure, discipline and attitude we had into Saturday night’s game and we should be all right.”

— On how much of what he does with his roster is dictated by what he sees in camp and how much is dictated by what he saw in the preseason games…

“It’s probably half and half. Those are games are important. There’s guys that just play better in games. They’re choppy skaters or they’re not smooth or they’re whatever, but in games they just know where to go. They know how to get open or they know how to go the spots that make them effective players, although maybe they’re not graceful to watch in practice. You’ve got to weigh both. I’m not saying one’s more important than the other. Obviously, it’s more important if you can play in the games, but two games or one game that these kids have played, it’s not necessarily fair to place them in a certain spot yet.”

— On if anyone’s stood out or surprised him yet…

“A lot of kids have. I really like our group of returning forwards and some of the new forwards we have. Matt Lombardi’s got great speed, Hayes has got obviously a touch and a knack around the net, Kang; same thing. There’s been a lot of really good surprises. Actually, everyone here I really think brings something to the table and that’s important. You can’t just have a kid who does a little bit of everything but nothing very well. I think everyone on our team brings something to the table. J.S. Berube, he does every little thing well. He goes to all the right spots on the ice. Jeremy Akeson, same thing. And those guys are physical players, they’re important to have. You can’t have ten guys like Kang and Prough, and you can’t have ten guys like Akeson and Berube, but I think we have a nice mix.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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2 Responses to “Dean Speaks After Spirited Practice”

  1. Titans Says:

    Thanks Mike, good stuff once he got past the standard non-answers.

  2. tdevils Says:

    I have to blame myself a bit there. I’m asking those questions at least a day too early, but I figured if I could get the info you guys want before media day — when it will most likely be announced — I’d be getting a leg up on everyone else.

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