John MacLean turned out to be a pushover in his first day on the ice as Devils head
bill-kostrounAP.jpgBill Kostroun/APLarry Robinson was back as an assistant coach as the Devils opened prospects camp.
He cancelled a scheduled scrimmage as prospects camp opened today at the Prudential Center, but players shouldn't get a false sense of comfort.
“It’s the first day for these guys. This is more about them getting comfortable in the environment," MacLean explained. "Some of them might have skated. Some of them might not of have skated. They all say they’re in good shape, but playing hockey is different. We’re not here to hurt them.
"They’re here to get experience and pick up some information from myself, Larry (Robinson), from Oatsie (assistant coach Adam Oates), Scotty (Stevens), Abbie (Tommy Albelin) and Chris (Terreri)."
MacLean said Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby are among those players who could make the team in the fall.
“They’re like everybody else here right now. It’s more for these guys to get their feet wet so they’re comfortable when they come back in September.
“Sure, those two guys and other young guys have a chance, too. There are going to be some opportunties for some young guys. Those two definitely have a shot and other young guys have some shots, too. It comes down to how they do in training camp.”
MacLean was on the ice for both sessions. He said that will be the case this week and in training camp, although he will watch scrimmages from the stands.
“I’ll be out for the practices. I’ll watch the scrimmages from the stands," he explained. "I like being out on the ice. You get a chance to see them, see how they react. You’re involved. Sometimes when you’re sitting up in the stands, you can’t whisper something in their ear.”
Day one of prospects camp went well.
“I know most of the guys," MacLean said. "There are some guys I don’t know, so I'm just trying to get a feel for them. I know all the guys from Lowell and the guys that were here before, but the new guys you get to see them make an impression. We’ve got some big D out there.
“You can see some things. You’ll see who will get better by the end of the week. Like in training camp you see who’s gung-ho the first day or two and then you see the guys that can play take over. You’ll see the talent take over probably as the week goes on here.”
Although he looks very comfortable, MacLean said there are differences in being the head coach compared with being an assistant coach.
“It’s a little bit different because I wasn’t the head coach of the Devils, but with the coaching staff we have and the resources we have around here, I kind of want to be out there," he said. "If we’re going to have some young guys (make the team), they’re going to have to get to know me and I want to get to know them. Communication is going to be a big thing with us in how we approach the year.”
* * *
MacLean said he had input on the hiring of Adam Oates as an assistant.
“Yeah. We went through the process and I was excited after I met him and we clicked," MacLean said. "With his theories and his ideas, I think it’s going to be good. For us, I think it’s good to have an offensive guy outside and a centerman. We need to get better on draws. Our power play needs to be good. He's somebody with a little different view that we’ll utitlize.
“I think he fits the bill perfectly. Draws are important. Playing against him, he was very creative. He has a great mind for the game and that’s definitely something we were looking for with that aspect of the game. He worked with Tampa’s power play last year. I think special teams are going to be huge. We’re going to have to work on them.
“I’m excited that we have Oatsie. He is actually the perfect guy that we were looking for. I didn’t know him before, but, having played against him, I had a great respect for him. I know his offensive abilities and I think he’s going to add a lot to our team as far as special teams and working with the centermen. He’s a creative offensive mind that’s going to be helpful. I think he’s going to work well with Larry (Robinson) and I.”