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Training camp notes & quotes

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Ilya Kovalchuk skates past goaltender Keith Kinkaid for a loose puck.

(New Jersey Devils)
Quotes from the first day of veterans' training camp:

Ilya Kovalchuk on Zach Parise being healthy again after missing most of 2010-11.

“He’s a huge part of our team. He’s one of the leaders on this team and we were missing him, for sure. It’s nice to see him healthy and laughing again to be around us all again. That’s great.”

Kovalchuk on balancing defensive responsibilities with offense under DeBoer:
"We still one to be one of the best defensive teams, but we want to create more goals, that’s for sure, because it seems like last year, we didn’t score enough. If we want to win more games, we have to score more."

Dainius Zubrus on adjusting to a new coach at camp:
“The process is just to absorb because there’ll be some new tweaks in the system. For me right now it’s nothing, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t seen this,’ it’s just tweaks really. It’s nothing that much different. This sort of system that we’re looking at, it’s a five-man unit. If someone falls asleep and doesn’t do his job, there could be holes opening up. We’re going to have to work well as a unit, but when we do, I’m sure it’ll be good.”

Patrik Elias on playing center:
“Last year I played there the whole season, before that with Jacques [Lemaire] the last couple of years, actually. When Brent [Sutter] was here, I played on and off in the middle and I enjoy it. I know the game well enough to play in any position right now except d-man… and the goalie, probably. I play d-man just on the power play. But offensive-wise on the forward line, I think I can play any position, which is good for the coach to know. In the middle, I like it. I can can control the puck, control the game a little bit better. It suits me.”

Coach Peter DeBoer on Adam Larsson:
“I thought he looked outstanding the first two days. For a young guy coming in, you can tell that he’s been over here and he’s done his work, he’s prepared, focused. He’s not alone in that group. I thought as a group, the entire camp looks good. There’s nobody, for me, that really looked out of place, and I think that’s the sign of a good camp.”

DeBoer on Larsson competing for a roster spot:
“I would hope he would. He’s in a group of five or six young defensemen that are all competing for jobs, and there is opportunity here. I think you just have to look at the depth chart to see that. We’ve got a lot of hockey and a lot of camp left, so it’s too early to be handing anybody jobs, but he’s definitely in that group of guys that’s competing for one.”

Larsson on whether he believes he can make the team out of camp:
"Yeah, of course I believe that. I’d be stupid if [I didn’t]."

Free agent tryout Anton Stralman on what he hopes to contribute:
“I try to be an offensive-minded defenseman. I try to make a good first pass with the puck, create some offense from the back end. That’s what I’m trying to do, hopefully, helping out on the power play, as well. That’s what I like to do. Can’t forget about the defensive part of the game, as well, but that’s something I’m trying to get better at. But still, I’m here to play offense, and help the team to create some offense."
Stralman on why he chose to attend Devils camp:
"Coming to a great a organization, a winning organization. Three Cups in the last 15 years or so, that’s a pretty strong record and they always should be at the top of the standings. That’s why I came here, to an organization that can win. That’s what I wanted, and obviously there’s a lot of younger defensemen here, but not a lot of right-handed shots, either. Hopefully, I can just work hard in practices, play good in those exhibition games and I can earn a spot."

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