Players arrived at Prudential Center to take physicals, headshots and to shoot interviews with MSG Networks for the 2009-10 season.
There were familiar faces as well as some new ones, including tough guy Andrew Peters, who’s attending camp on a tryout basis. He first met with club President/GM/CEO Lou Lamoriello in August.
“First class is basically the first thing I can say,” Peters said of the Devils organization. “From what I understand, the way they treat their players is top notch. I think that’s why guys stay here so long and want to be here. It’s because of the way they’re treated.”
Peters has spent all five of his NHL seasons with Buffalo, which selected him 34th overall in 1998. He has amassed 557 penalty minutes in 200 games, including 81 PIMs in 28 contests last season.
He’ll begin competing for a contract when the vets skate for the first time on Sunday.
“Training camp with or without a contract is a tough road,” he said. “Either way – signed or unsigned – I’ve got to do the same thing. I’d love to have a contract right now but it is what it is.”
Heavyweights make their presence felt by dropping the gloves. But that’s not something Peters believes he needs to do to make an impression on the Devils’ coaching staff.
"You don’t want to be beating up your own teammates, you want to fight the guys on the other team that are doing the same job you are," he said. "It’s a tough role, and it’s tough to analyze it. But I think everyone knows what I can do. I’m not afraid of doing it. I’ve done it for five years at the NHL level, three years in the American League. I’m confident with my abilities in doing it, and I’m sure I’m here because they know what I can do.” Brodeur, Mottau admire Jeter hits record
The vets got to camp the morning after Derek Jeter made history in the Bronx. The Yankees shortstop collected career hit No. 2,722 on Friday night, surpassing Lou Gehrig for the most in club history.Martin Brodeur
certainly knows about shattering records. He holds the NHL’s wins mark (557) and needs three shutouts to break Terry Sawchuk’s all-time record (103). Though he wasn’t aware of Jeter’s accomplishment, Brodeur appreciated its significance.
“It’s impressive, especially in baseball with its history and the players in an organization like the Yankees,” Brodeur said. “It’s always fun to see someone doing something good. He’s being rewarded for his excellence.”
Brodeur said he follows baseball “a bit,” but doesn’t pay as close attention to it since the Expos moved from his native Montreal in 2004. His brother, Claude, was once a pitcher in the Expos farm system.
Defenseman Mike Mottau, a Boston native and diehard Red Sox fan, knew of Jeter’s achievement.
“He’s played at a high level for his whole career as far as surpassing some of the great Yankees that I never had a chance to see,” Mottau said. “You have to respect him, Sox fan or not.”
Carl Yastrzemski holds the Red Sox all-time hits record with 3,419. Mottau said Jeter would continue climbing baseball’s hits list if he can stay healthy. As of Saturday morning, Jeter, 35, needed 696 hits to match “Yaz,” who sits sixth all-time.
“That’d be quite an accomplishment, as well,” Mottau said. “My dad and my whole family hold (Yastrzemski) at such a high level. I actually caught some of the games near the end of his career. I’d be pretty impressed if he passed Yaz.”Video players
Players sat down with Devils radio play-by-play announcer Matt Loughlin to answer a series of questions that will appear in video segments on the arena scoreboard this season.
Asked who he would be if he could be anyone for a day, Patrik Elias
named tennis superstar Roger Federer. He said, however, that he hadn’t had much opportunity to follow Federer at this year’s U.S. Open … Brodeur picked Homer Simpson as his favorite cartoon character … Asked what kind of music he likes to get pumped up for games, Zach Parise
joked about listening to Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry. If he were on a deserted island and could take one thing with him, Parise said a television, though he didn’t know where he’d plug it in … Jamie Langenbrunner would take a golf club with him on the deserted island. If he could be anyone for a day, he said he’d be – Matt Loughlin. Elias pleased with Czech honor
Elias was named the winner of the Golden Stick award last month as the best Czech player for the 2008-09 season. The award is voted on by Czech coaches and journalists. Former NHLer Jaromir Jagr had won the award in four straight seasons, and nine seasons overall.
"It was awesome," Elias said. "I enjoyed it. For the past 10 years you had two guys (Jagr, Dominik Hasek) that were winning almost every year. They deserved it, but there were certainly years when young guys could have won that award."
Elias continued: "For me, personally, it's kind of a first individual award and it's nice – it's nice to be recognized and especially in your home country."
The Trebic, Czech Republic, native scored 31 goals and and 47 assists for 78 points last season, finishing second on the team to Parise in all three categories.
Elias, who represented his homeland at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, hopes to do so again at the Vancouver Games this February.
"No question, I'd love to," he said. "It's two goals this year: to play in the Olympics and succeed, and to succeed in not getting out in the first round (in New Jersey). It's been a long time since we really got a taste of accomplishing something, so those are the two main goals."