New Jersey Devils backup goalie Yann Danis will get his second start of the season Friday against his former team, the New York Islanders, at Prudential Center.NEWARK, N.J. --
"The thing is, you just have to make sure you stay focused at all times because you never know when you're going to get that call," Danis told NHL.com. "I just have to perform well at morning skates and, every day at practice, you just have to work hard. It might be easy to get discouraged a little bit but you can't afford to do that. You have to stay focused and you have to keep working and always maintain that edge."
Danis, who signed a free-agent contract with the Devils in July, spent one season with the Islanders before changing Atlantic Division allegiances this summer.
"Obviously (playing the Islanders) will add a little something since I know the guys on the other side, but I feel like every time I play I have something to prove and tonight is no different," Danis said. "I had a good first game (against Boston) and am looking to play another solid one.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys over there but when the puck drops it's a different story," Danis added. "It's two teams going as hard as they can."
One player Danis will be paying special attention too is fifth-year forward Jeff Tambellini. Danis said Tambellini possessed the best wrist shot of any shooter he faced in the American Hockey League when he played for Hamilton and Tambellini starred on Bridgeport.
"I've played against him a couple times," Tambellini said of Danis. "He's a solid goalie. He covers the net well and is really athletic so for me I just have to find a way to get nice and open for my linemates. But he's a pretty talented guy."
Danis finished 10-17-3 with a 2.86 goals-against average and two shutouts -- including a 4-0 blanking of the Devils last Feb. 21 -- as a member of the Islanders last season. Never drafted, the 28-year-old native of Lafontaine, Quebec was signed by Montreal as a free agent in 2004, but opted for the collegiate route, spending four seasons with Brown.
"Coming out of college, there is a learning curve," Danis said. "You have a lot more games at the professional level and you have to get used to the heavier workload. Another change I had to make was being more aggressive. Back in college I was playing a little deeper in the net but I could afford to do that because shots were not as quick. Here, if you play too deep, guys are going to bite you -- they'll hit the corners so I have to make sure I stay at the top of the crease."
Danis, who'll give Martin Brodeur a breather, is grateful to have the opportunity to learn from the 16-year veteran. Brodeur has won 8 of his 12 starts this season. Danis got his lone start of the season against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 29, making 31 saves in a 2-1 triumph.
"Just seeing how (Brodeur) handles himself every day with the pressure of being a No. 1 goalie and being one of the best goalies in the world," Danis said. "How he works so hard in practice and the little things he does to keep himself focused. Another big thing is the fact one of my weaknesses is being able to play the puck so being able to watch him every day and seeing how he acts like a third defenseman out there is a great learning experience."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com