Home > Off Day Musings > Devils Update: Team Practices, Holds Meeting; Martin Still Not Practicing With Team

Devils Update: Team Practices, Holds Meeting; Martin Still Not Practicing With Team

The Devils held practice this afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Paul Martin, who’s contiuing to rehab his broken forearm, worked before practice with assistant coaches Tommy Albelin, Mario Tremblay and right-winger David Clarkson. Clarkson worked with Martin to have someone to pass to and work against during the drills.

Martin did not practice with the full team.

There was one major change in today’s practice. Dainius Zubrus moved up to practice with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac on the first line. Jamie Langenbrunner shifted down to the second line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. This isn’t a new change, as coach Jacques Lemaire has tinkered with these combinations before.

Mark Fraser practiced as the seventh defender today, meaning he’ll probably be a scratch in tomorrow night’s game.

The team worked on their breakout from the defensive zone and some 5-on-5 play.


The team exited the ice around 11:40 a.m. and held a team meeting. Lemaire began the meeting, but exited the locker room to allow the players to finish the meeting themselves.

Lemaire didn’t specificially say what the meeting was about, but he noted it wasn’t about Sunday’s loss or the upcoming game against the Rangers.

“That’s not how it works,” Lemaire said after the meeting to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “How it works is you have work at it. You have to get all the guys on the same page. You have to get a team, a team in what you would describe as a winning team. Players that have been on a winning team, they know what it is to win, how they would describe a team. That’s what you need. When you won, you know what it took to get there. You know what it took as a group to get together. These guys can describe what a team is. So, we need some of that.”

The Devils have seven former Stanley Cup winners on the team, so they should know how to pull themselves out of this funk. They’ve already played a quarter of their season under .500 (6-13-2), and they’ve fallen five points behind Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Divison lead. The team needs to right the ship, and soon.

The players believe this meeting was long overdue.

“We probably should have done it a long time ago,”  Langenbrunner said. “For whatever reason, we started to believe we would just fix it. I can’t remember who said it, but it wasn’t from a lack of wanting to fix it or knowing that something needed to be fixed. It was the belief that in all of us that, ‘Oh, we’ll snap out of it.'”

The players admitted to believing things would end after the Olympic break. But when their problems continued, they realized they had to meet.

“I think everyone thought that we’d go into break and we’d come back and everything would be fine,” Parise said. “That’s not the way this game works.”

The players admitted Sunday was “rock bottom,” and that they must improve their play this week.

“This is a big week for us going back and getting back to the way we need to play,” Langenbrunner said. “I don’t think we could ask for a better week as far as emotional games for us, three divisional games (Wedensday vs. the Rangers, Friday vs. Pittsburgh and Saturday at the Islanders).”

All quotes courtesy of The Fire and Ice Blog, written by Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti.

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