Albany Devils notes
The Albany Devils return to game action following the All-Star Break with six straight road games, starting Friday at Providence and Saturday at Portland.
They are 9-6-1-3 on the road this season. That road record and the fact they all came back to Albany basically for one practice before hopping on a bus seems to suit coach Rick Kowalsky just fine.
“We’ve played well on the road this year,” he said. “This time of year, I know guys have traveled [back from their brief vacation], but getting away and getting together right away as a group, I like the fact that we’re going to be in a hotel tonight and everybody’s going to go for lunch now and probably go for dinner tonight. Getting the group right back together for these next couple days immediately after the break is good.
“As far as the road, as a player, you tend to simplify your game. As a coach, you can’t match-up as much, so you have to trust your guys. I think guys understand that. You’re going to have some mismatch from a lineup standpoint, if you’re looking at matching lines. I like to roll four lines, and if everybody’s going, I trust pretty much every line against pretty much anyone we see. I think we just keep it simple on the road, and I think for the most part, when you do that — we talk about trusting the system and playing the system, not trying to do too much. Then again, we need everybody to win hockey games. We’re not a one- or a two-line team, and we’ve been able to — this last little stretch — to get away with that more than I’d like. We addressed that this morning and talked about how important it is to get back, keep rolling here after the break.”
Even after Thursday’s practice, though, Kowalsky was unsure who was going to play in this weekend’s games. At the time, he wasn’t yet sure who was going to be available, because left wing Mattias Tedenby — who had been reassigned to Albany on Monday — had not yet shown up to Albany. And at the time Kowalsky spoke to reporters after practice, it had not yet been announced that right wing Cam Janssen was being loaned to Albany by New Jersey.
“Tedenby is not here. I don’t know yet [if he is coming],” Kowalsky said. “If he is, he’ll be meeting us tomorrow in Providence.”
Tedenby has nine goals and eight assists in 30 games with Albany this season.
Janssen, who broke into the pros with the Albany River Rats in the 2004-05 season, has 311 NHL regular-season games under his belt, in which he as racked up three goals, eight assists and 750 penalty minutes.
Kowalsky also is cautiously eyeing the return of left wing Chad Wiseman (lower body) and right wing Scott Parse (hip). Both were available last weekend, but neither returned to the lineup. Now, the four days off for the All-Star Break may have done more to push back their return instead of expedite it.
“They’re available. We’ve got to see where we’re at, lineup-wise,” Kowalsky said. “You’re a little concerned after these guys have been off this long, those two in particular because they haven’t played in so long. Probably right now, we’d be looking at a game each, but we’ll see. We’ve got to talk to them. I thought they both skated OK today. We’ll see how they feel tomorrow. You don’t want to just rush them into this after a four-day break.”
Kowalsky also spoke about right wing Matt Anderson getting his first NHL action on Tuesday. Anderson is in his third season with the organization, all of which, until Tuesday, had been spent in Albany. For three seasons before that, he played with the Chicago Wolves.
“He’s a guy that came in the same time I did, here, two years ago,” Kowalsky said. “It’s kind of been up and down for him. He had a really good year that first year, then obviously some injury problems last year. But it just goes to show this organization rewards guys who are playing the right way at the right time. He’s put in his time. It’s good to see him get this opportunity. I told the guys this morning, you never know. Don’t assume it’s going to be this guy or that guy for any type of reason, whether it be political or draft status or anything. It’s about what their wants and needs are at that particular time, and who’s the best guy for that job. Stephen Gionta is probably the best example of that.”