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Lemaire eyes solid game from Niedermayer

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Jacques Lemaire will be paying close attention to new acquisition Rob Niedermayer on Tuesday, but said he knows what to expect when the centerman makes his Devils debut.

"Just a solid game, the type of game he's been playing all his career – that's what I'm looking for," Lemaire said before Tuesday's preseason finale against the Islanders. "To learn the system, learn what we want, try to play solid everywhere on the ice. But mainly to learn how we're going to play the game, because it's a little different, just a little different."

Lemaire said short shifts would be important as Niedermayer gets back into NHL game shape.

"Instead of 40, 45 seconds, just gotta go 30. He'll be fine," he said. 

The Devils announced Tuesday they placed defensemen Jay Leach and Rob Davison; and forward Tim Sestito on waivers. NHL clubs must have their opening night rosters set by Wednesday at 3 p.m.

"We're getting there," said Lemaire. "I think the last decisions will be made in the next couple of days."

One of those decisions will involve Niclas Bergfors, who led the Devils in preseason scoring through four games with one goal and three assists. Bergfors, 22, was selected 23rd overall by New Jersey in 2005.

"Good skating, good abilities, good with the puck, strong along the boards, getting chances pretty much every game," Lemaire said. "He's a good little player."

Lemaire was asked if the young Swede is ready to be an NHL regular.

"We don't know how much he could be ready right now," he said. "But what he's been showing, he looks like – that's why we played him two games in two nights, the two games we had back-to-back, he was fine. He's been in every game, and he's been doing well."

The head coach will be looking for an improvement from his group following what he considered an uneven effort in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Philadelphia.

"I'm sure it'll be better than last game, especially the second period," he said. "The third period we played fine in the last game. First period was so-so, but maybe we scored a goal too early."

Lemaire said he had not known about Matt Halischuk changing numbers from 63 to 16.

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