Game 26: Morning Skate Notes

11:35 AM — Ah, yes.  Back at my familiar perch in the press box at the Sun National Bank Center, where the Titans morning skate wrapped up about 45 minutes ago.  I chatted with Vince Williams, Kory Nagy and Marcel Alvarez…I’ll present some of Williams comments in a bit, the Nagy stuff is for a feature that’ll run between now and Christmas and the Alvarez stuff is as a follow-up to my story on players with military connections who are playing pro hockey that is set to run in The Hockey News some time in January.

Some news…The Albany Devils have sent forward Phil DeSimone to Trenton.  A former UNH standout, the 25-year-old had one goal in six games for the A-Devils this season.  Last year, he spent the full season in the AHL, posting a 33-point campaign over the course of 76 games.  He was wearing #34 this morning, and will play.  Doesn’t sound like Stephen Schultz will, but that’s not for certain yet.  Schultz lost two to four teeth when he was struck by a high stick on Sunday.  Scott Wedgewood will be in net.

Andrew Johnston and Bryan Haczyk were both full participants, while Kelly Zajac was out there towards the end and certainly wasn’t at 100 percent; gingerly skating around the perimeter of the ice.

Here’s what Williams had to say to the dopey reporter who grabbed a seat on the leather couch in his office for a few minutes this morning…

“We’ve done a lot of teaching, this (turnaround, 5 out of last 6 games with at least a point) has been going on for a long time.  I think since our start, and we even said it, our 5-1 start, we were playing well and we were out-executing a lot of teams, but if you take it from a structure standpoint, I don’t think we were playing our best hockey.  We were winning, but it was how we were winning.  We were getting away with a lot, but we were still learning and auditioning a lot of players to see where we were.  Collectively, it’s been constant teaching in practice and in video and in individual stuff.  It’s nice to see it’s paying off, and it’s nice to see players being rewarded for their hard work, too. I use a guy like Marcel Noebels as an example, he’s come full-circle since the beginning of the year for a 20-year-old kid.  But, it’s still finding some chemistry and having guys buy in and want to get better and want to do what we ask them to do, and it makes a big difference when everyone is doing it.  When everyone else is holding each other accountable, you can just tell in the dressing room and even on the bench that guys that are seeing it on the ice.”

“Schultzie right now, he had lost about four teeth, so he’s still sensitive.  He’ll probably come on the road.  Conboy is still out, obviously.  Mangene is back from bereavement leave.  There’s going to be a couple guys that won’t play tonight, but we have the 20 that’ll be coming on the road after the game.  Zajac just got back out there today, Johnnie is doing more, Haczyk same thing.  They’re probably not (ready) until after Christmas.  Zaj, you’ve got to be smart with him and his history of his groin (problems).  Johnston and Haczyk could be guys back after Christmas though.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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