I walked into the locker room after practice today and found Vern Fiddler standing at his stall asking the handful of guys in the room about the dress code on road trips as the Devils prepare to travel tomorrow for their first two games of the season, Thursday at Florida (7:30 p.m., MSG+) and Saturday at Tampa Bay (7 p.m. MSG+2) . The conversation went a little something like this:
Fiddler: "Do we have to wear suits on the road?"
Crowd, in unison: "Yes"
Fiddler: "Even just for practice?"
Zajac: "I'm going with yes."
Lovejoy: "Ray loves the suits."
Fiddler: "What about a tie? Do I have to wear a tie all the time too?"
Cammalleri: "No, I think you can wear a collared shirt to practice."
Henrique: "When in doubt, always wear a suit. Can never go wrong with a suit."
If this little snippet of conversation is any indication, the ten (soon-to-be-eleven, with the acquisition of PA Parenteau off waivers from the Islanders) new faces in the Devils locker room have integrated themselves pretty well over the past two weeks.
When I asked Cammy about it, he was shocked to realize there were ten new players on the team this season.
"There's your answer right there," he said. "I had no idea it was that many. It just feels like we've always been together. There hasn't been any awkward getting-to-know-you transition. It's been great, actually."
This trip, although short, will provide an opportunity for team bonding away from the rink and it's something the guys are looking forward to. With the nature of pre-season travel and the close proximity of their opponents, they have only taken one flight - a 50 minute trip to Montreal and back two weeks ago. So this will be an opportunity for them to learn even more about each other over dinner and during down time at the hotel. All in the name of team chemistry.
Hopefully, I'll have some more fun examples of that chemistry on display to share with you along way.