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Day 9 - Red/White rematch

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Parise and the Devils worked on team 'D' after Tuesday's 30-minute scrimmage.
It was supposed to be an hour-long scrimmage, but after 30 minutes Jacques Lemaire switched things up Tuesday and decided to focus on defense.

It wasn't part of the plan, but, as Lemaire would explain, things change.

"When I came in early, I look at the practice we had (Monday) and I say, 'Oh. Defensemen are not working hard enough. I can't afford to lose another day,'" he said.

Brendan Shanahan had the lone goal of the 30-minute period, and the Lemaire-led White team topped Red by a 1-0 score. Once again, the veteran forwards (in White) battled a squad of vet defensemen and goaltenders (Red).

The victory avenged Lemaire's 4-1 loss to Red on Monday.

After an ice resurfacing, the players – less some of the rookies – returned wearing practice jerseys and began going through defensive drills.

Lemaire's review of the video from Monday's session prompted the head coach to squeeze in some extra instruction. The Devils continue the preseason schedule at Long Island on Wednesday, then at Philadelphia on Thursday.

"I just felt that they could work a little stronger," he said. "I had to go through some stuff defensively."

That also included a defensive primer for the forwards, marking a shift at this year's camp.

"For the most part, this whole camp has been about offense; creating more on rushes, on cycles and things like that," said Dainius Zubrus, who once again centered Shanahan and Brian Rolston. "After the scrimmage I'd say it was more defensive teaching, but stuff that I think guys understand. It makes complete sense the way (Lemaire) explains it." 

Tim Sestito replaced Michael Swift as the center between Jay Pandolfo and David Clarkson on White. Swift was moved to the Red squad to center Vladimir Zharkov and Niclas Bergfors.

Sestito left the game early after sustaining a facial cut resulting from a collision with Clarkson and Patrick Davis.

One interesting wrinkle on Tuesday saw defenseman Olivier Magnan-Grenier move to right wing with Andrew Peters and Rod Pelley. Lemaire has attempted similar experiments before: he tried blueliner Brent Burns at forward while with Minnesota.

"He told me he's a good skater, which I didn't really pay attention to, how he can play the game," Lemaire said of Magnan-Grenier. "So I said, 'Well, I'll try him on the wing and keep an eye on him.' His skating is fine."

Magnan-Grenier said he didn't see the move coming, but he did make the most of the new assignment with a pair of solid scoring chances during the abbreviated scrimmage.

"I was really surprised," Magnan-Grenier said. "It's been a long time since I played up front."

He nearly scored after beating Mark Fraser down the right wing to get in alone on Gerald Coleman. He came close again on a Peters rebound against Jeff Frazee with four minutes left.

"It's a different game up there, way different," he said. "But it's still hockey, so it wasn't too bad, I think."

Magnan-Grenier was New Jersey's sixth choice in 2006, and last played forward for a half-season as a 15-year-old in Triple 'A'. Now 23, he's happy to play at any position so long as he gets the opportunity to contribute.

"I don't have a clue what (the coaching staff) is thinking, but it's only important that I'm playing and practicing," he said. "I'm happy to be here up front or as a 'D' man. The important thing is that I'm playing."

He has four goals and 24 assists in 175 games with Lowell (AHL), and offered a guess as to why he'd get a look at forward.

"My speed, because it's not my hands," he said. "I'm not a great puckhandler, but I can skate. I'm a fast 'D' man, so maybe I can skate as fast as a forward."

• Shanahan confirmed that he scored during the scrimmage. "Spread the word," he said.

• Forwards Patrice Cormier and Ilkka Pikkarainen, and defenseman Tyler Eckford were sick and did not play. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond returned after missing Monday with an illness.

12:50p – Lines skating at today's post-scrimmage practice:


Extra forwards are Peters and Magnan-Grenier.

Defense are: Davison, Leach, Murphy, Fraser, Oduya, Martin, Salvador, Greene, Mottau and White. Goalies: Brodeur, Danis.

12:02p – Instead of skating a second 30-minute period, the players come back on the ice wearing practice jerseys. Scrimmage ends in a 1-0 White victory. Jacques Lemaire avenges his 4-1 loss yesterday.

11:46a – Cormier, Pikkarainen and Eckford did not participate in this morning's scrimmage. Word is that all three are sick.

11:44a – White leads 1-0 after the first period. Second 30-minute frame coming up. Red holds 14-13 shots advantage.

11:35a – Sestito still has not returned after the collision. Zajac fills his spot between Pandolfo and Clarkson.

11:25a – Brendan Shanahan beats Yann Danis from the slot to make it 1-0 White at 15:23 of the first period. Goaltenders changed up at the midway point of the 30-minute frame.

11:18a – Sestito slow to get up near center ice after a three-way colision with Patrick Davis and David Clarkson. Some blood on the ice being scraped up by referees. Tough to see where Sestito might have been cut.

11:08a – Magnan-Grenier (Red) has been moved up from defense to right wing with Rod Pelley and Andrew Peters. He's a lefty shot.

11:06a – Scrimmage underway. Looks like two 30-minute periods once again. Coleman in net for White, Brodeur in goal for Red.

11:03a – The Devils are back on the ice this morning for the Red/White rematch. Jacques Lemaire's White team, featuring the vet forwards, lost, 4-1, Monday to the Red squad, which included the vet defensemen and goaltenders.

A few lineup changes to note from yesterday's game. For White, Tim Sestito has replaced Michael Swift as the center between Jay Pandolfo and David Clarkson. Swift centering Vladimir Zharkov and Niclas Bergfors on Red.

On defense, Olivier Magnan-Grenier has been moved from the rookie White 'D' to the veteran corps on Red.

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond was sick on Monday, but is back skating this morning. Forwards Ilkka Pikkarainen and Patrice Cormier are not skating this morning, nor is defenseman Tyler Eckford.
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