The second episode of the NHL Network’s “Behind the Glass: Inside New Jersey Devils Training Camp” aired tonight and it was a fast paced show.
We begin with the narrator talking about how all NHL training camps are “a race against time” but this one is moving even quicker. The Devils have the trip to Europe to contend with and that is making decisions move at a breakneck pace.
The Devils travel to Brooklyn to play the Islanders in their next preseason game. Kurtis Gabriel is discussed. His focus on trying to make the team has him playing a very physical style, but he is not playing disciplined enough.
That brings us to the first round of cuts. Blake Speers and Gabriel are shown meeting with Ray Shero and John Hynes. This was a fascinating look into how these things go down at an NHL level. The narrator mentions that this is a part of NHL life and the prospects will be thinking about them. Hynes and Shero are complimentary towards the players they are cutting in terms of what they did good during camp, but do stress what needs to be worked on by the players getting cut.
The next segment shows Taylor Hall near his home in Hoboken. He discusses the differences between Edmonton and New Jersey. While Edmonton is hockey-mad all year long and hockey is what they focus on in a small city, the New York City metropolitan area is somewhere where he can be more anonymous because hockey is not a year-long focus. He says that people do not recognize him too much and when they do, they usually just say “go Devils” or tell him he is doing a great job. He says that he can see himself sticking around New Jersey for a long time.
Ty Smith is next to be profiled, as Shero, Tom Fitzgerald and Hynes all talk about him and what he brings to the table. Although things seem good to go for him, a big change will be coming for him by the end of the episode.
Miles Wood’s re-signing is covered. Shero says that his contract was a good fit for both him and the Devils. Unfortunately for players on the bubble, Wood’s re-signing takes away a spot for them.
Brian Boyle is shown with his family and talks about his cancer diagnosis last season. Some of the other players talk about last year and how he was year prior to being diagnosed with cancer. Cory Schneider mentioned that he was gassed a lot during practice and his timing seemed off. But he fought through things and his triumphant return and goal during Hockey Fights Cancer Night against Edmonton are shown.
Next up, the team travels into New York City to take on the Rangers. An intermission chewing out from coach Hynes is shown and the Devils’ eventual overtime loss to New York.
Good news for John Quenneville and Smith as they have survived cuts and will travel with the team to Winnipeg for their next preseason game against the Jets. The Devils will be traveling over the following two weeks to Winnipeg, Switzerland and Sweden.
Practice is shown in Winnipeg where Nico Hischier talks about his excitement in returning to Switzerland for a game.
Next they show the win over the Jets. Hynes is pleased, saying the team played “excellent.” But Ty Smith, who did not see time during the game, is given word the next day that he is being sent back to his junior team in Spokane. Hynes talks to a disappointed Smith about what they need to see from him in the future and he is told to just keep working hard as he “is a Devil.”
Overall, this was a pretty good episode. Seeing the cut process was fascinating, as I mentioned. Of course you had to feel for the players, but you also felt for the coaches and management. It is not an easy task to tell a competitive professional athlete that he has not made a team. Watching these processes play out was kind of cool.
Next episode sees the Devils on their trip to Europe, presumably the SC Bern game and the surrounding things with that involving Nico Hischier and his homecoming.