Earlier this morning, the Devils held a 3-on-3 mini tournament that was open to fans. I got to attend and I thought I would give some observations here.
Everything was pretty much run like a gameday, albeit one held at the RWJ-Barnabas Hockey House, the practice rink adjacent to the Prudential Center. Devils public address announcer Kevin Clark was in attendance and made his customary pregame announcements about pucks and objects leaving the playing surface.
The events proper started at 10 AM when the players hit the ice for some drills for about twenty minutes to a half an hour. This served as a warmup for the players. Just prior to the tournament starting, Clark announced Andy Greene, John Moore, Travis Zajac and Cory Schneider onto the ice and Greene and Schneider gave quick speeches about the future of the team and what the Development Camp players meant to it.
The players were then split into four teams. Each team was named for a Devils legend with his number retired, hence you had Team Stevens, Team Daneyko, Team Niedermayer and Team Brodeur. Number one overall draft pick Nico Hischier was on Team Niedermayer and wore number 33. Teams Brodeur and Niedermayer wore red (with Team Brodeur switching to white when they faced Team Niedermayer) and Teams Daneyko and Stevens wore white (with Team Stevens switching to red when they faced each other).
Team Brodeur featured Mackenzie Blackwood in goal, Michael Kapla, Nathan Bastian, Miles Wood, Jesper Boqvist, Fabian Zetterlund and Aarne Talvitie. Suiting up for Team Daneyko were goaltender Kenn Appleby, Pavel Zacha, Joshua Jacobs, Joey Anderson, Brandon Baddock, Colton White (who was given Jaromir Jagr’s number 68 for the camp), Robert Carpenter and Nicolas Guay. For Team Niedermayer was Evan Cormier in net, Hischier, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Ryan Kujawinski, Reilly Walsh, Marian Studenic, Colby Sissons and Blake Speers. And finally, representing Team Stevens were goalie Gilles Senn (who was listed on the roster sheet as being out for precautionary reasons – but he did play), Steven Santini, Mikey McLeod, Austin Cangelosi, Nikita Popugaev, Jesper Bratt, Jocktan Chainey and Jeremy Davies.
Forwards John Quenneville and Brandon Gignac did not participate due to injury (listed as lower body/precautionary). Goaltender Chris Bolejszo was originally listed as playing for Team Stevens, but as noted, Senn did play.
The games took place in the offensive zones with the goal cages parallel to the half walls. bumpers along the blueline kept the play within the zones. At my end of the rink (the side with the large American flag, if you are familiar with the rink), I saw Team Niedermayer defeat Team Stevens while Team Brodeur lost to Team Daneyko at the other end of the rink in game 1. Game 2 featured Team Stevens defeating Team Brodeur at the far end of the rink while Team Niedermayer lost to Team Daneyko at my end.
For game 3, Team Brodeur switched to white jerseys at the other side of the rink and lost to Niedermayer while Daneyko defeated Stevens (who did switch to red jerseys) at my side. That set up a final between Teams Daneyko and Nidermayer, played at my end while Team Brodeur took on Stevens in the consolation game at the far end of the rink.
In the end, it was Pavel Zacha and Team Daneyko who took home the trophy when they knocked off Team Niedermayer. Afterwards, Devils radio play-by-play man Matt Laughlin interviewed Zacha at center ice and presented him and his team a trophy. They took a team picture and that was all she wrote.
The event was sold out with a nice crowd for a Wednesday workday morning attending. The fans seemed to enjoy themselves and everyone had cameras out to take pictures of Hischier in his first official time on the ice as a Devil.
Next up, the Development Camp will present the Red versus White scrimmage on Saturday. I hope to be there and will post details here afterwards.