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Vets hit the ice for first time

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Dainius Zubrus at Sunday's morning session.
12:36 p.m. – David Clarkson said the morning fight between Matt Corrente and Myles Stoesz just showed that both players want to make an impression.

"I don't think you want to have fights at camp, but when it happens it shows that guys are battling for a spot; that they care," Clarkson said. "It's sometimes nice to see as long as no one gets hurt. Guys are doing their job if that's what they feel they're here to do, I think it's not a bad thing."

Clarkson, who led the Devils with 164 penalty minutes last season, was never drafted, and recalled having to drop the gloves at training camps when he was trying out for an NHL job.

"I've done it whenever I've tried out at camp," he said. "Some teams aren't happy about it, but at the end of the day, if you're coming into camp to be a fighter and you're a tough kid, you're going to get your opportunity. You're going to get your chance in exhibition games. I think that's mostly where you show yourself, in those games."

Both Corrente and Stoesz play their game with an edge. Corrente, the Devils' first choice, 30th overall, in 2006, collected 161 PIMs to go with six goals and 12 assists in 61 games last season, his first with Lowell (AHL). He fought fellow prospect Ashton Bernard (6/174, 2009) at July's rookie camp.

"No hard feelings, no animosity," Corrente said. "(Stoesz) is a teammate and a good guy, we patted each other afterward. It's part of the game."

Corrente added: "In a way it brings us a little closer. There's a lot more respect after something like that goes down, and you just got from there."

Stoesz, Atlanta's eighth choice, 207th overall, in 2005, was acquired in the Niclas Havelid deal that sent Anssi Salmela to the Thrashers last March. He recorded 188 PIMs in 53 ECHL games split between Gwinnett and the Devils' Trenton affiliate last season. In 2007-08, he amassed a career-high 291 PIMs in 64 games with Gwinnett.

"Me and Corrente probably play the same style of game. We're both tough guys to play against," Stoesz said. "He got a couple of sticks up on me, and I figured I'd get him back. One thing led to another, a couple of fists were thrown. It's good to get the first one out of the way."

Stoesz isn't generally a fan of fighting teammtes, either in camp or practice.

"It's not one of those things that I enjoy," he said. "I'd rather try and hurt another team. For me, I have to focus more on playing and getting my game better versus worrying about who I'm going to fight today. If I have to do it like today then I'll do it. No one got hurt; it's a win-win situation."

11:30 a.m. – Players skating a few laps before stretching to close out the morning's session.

11:24 a.m. – Highlight of the scrimmage is a fight between Matt Corrente and Myles Stoesz. Corrente pops off Stoesz's helmet with a big right, but the fight seems even, overall.

10:50 a.m. – First group returns to the ice for a scrimmage with Assistant Coach Mario Tremblay.
Gray, Black and Blue with the Red defense and Yann Danis against Light Blue, Green with the White defense and Martin Brodeur.

10:30 a.m. – Veterans skated for the first time at Devils training camp on Sunday. A mixed group of veterans and rookies hit the ice for a half-hour session that began at 10 a.m.

Head coach Jacques Lemaire led the session with assistant coaches Tommy Albelin, Scott Stevens and Mario Tremblay. Lowell goaltending coach Chris Terreri also took part.

The goaltenders were Martin Brodeur and Yann Danis.

Ten defensemen were split into red jerseys: Matt Corrente, Tyler Eckford, Eric Gelinas, Jay Leach and Cory Murphy; and white: Mark Fraser, Andy Greene, Olivier Magnan-Grenier, Bryce Salvador and Alexander Urbom.

The forwards were in blue: Vladimir Zharkov, Travis Zajac and Ilkka Pikkarainen; gray: Jay Pandolfo, Ben Walter and David Clarkson; green: Ashton Bernard, Stephen Gionta and Myles Stoesz; light blue: Eric Castonguay, Brad Mills and Nathan Perkovich; and black; Patrick Davis, Dainius Zubrus and Niclas Bergfors.

The first session lasted about a half an hour. Forwards then left the ice first while the coaching staff spent a few extra minutes speaking to the defensive corps.

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