Saturday, September 06, 2008
Unofficial Beginning of Camp
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said this afternoon that restricted free agent Rod Pelley remains unsigned, but "there's absolutely no question" he'll be under contract in time for the start of training camp (Physicals for veterans are on Friday, Sept. 19).
"I think it will get done quickly," Lamoriello said of signing Pelley. "We'll get him signed."
"Nothing is done yet and camp is approaching and everyone is wondering what is going on, but I feel I'm on track with Lou that things will be done," Pelley said. "I would like to go into camp with a contract. That would be good. But I've just got to see how things go here. It's gone this far, so I have to be a bit more patient and that's fine. too.
"In no circumstance am I holding out. That's not what I'm doing. It's more of both sides needing a bit of time. I would like to have something done before camp, but if both sides need more time, then that's how it's going to go."
Anyway, Gulitti has also asked Lou about whether the training camp will be open to the public and Lou's answer says "probably not." Well, it's not a straight "no," but it may not be likely given his answer. As far as why the practice rink has seats and a sponsor (the AmeriHealth Pavillion Center!), well the center isn't just for the Devils' practice but it will host hockey clinics, tournaments, and maybe some youth hockey among Newark teams. In a feature about the youth hockey representation at the Rock, co-owner Mike Gilfillan talks in this video (1:44 in) about the Newark Americans and a mite Americans squad and how they'll move to the Pavillion eventually. That probably makes more sense as to why there are seats at least. (ASIDE: I love the fact that the Devils have all of these video clips on their official site, but a way to promote that you even have this or have new videos would be excellent.)
Would an open camp bring in more and new fans to the franchise? Honestly, I don't know. It would make the team more accessible in a way and allow the fans to see more of the prospects and their favorite players up close. On the other hand, the camp likely takes place during the day - which isn't really accessible for most people - and it's mostly going to be drills and practice between those you will see in Newark in October and those you will see in Lowell (or elsewhere). If you're really into the team, I can see this as something you'd like to check out; but maybe not if you just learned that the Devils are a hockey team. As an analogue, I went to a NY Giants training camp session last year with my brother. We both thought it was interesting, but it was mostly standing around watching the players do their thing in practice with other Giants fans. While it was cool to see them upclose and working out (e.g. Jeremy Shockey helped Kevin Boss how to lift a guy on a block), it wasn't particularly exciting and I didn't see it as something that would make somebody become a Giants fan. Also, there were just several hundred spectators for the training camp of a vastly popular NFL team. I don't know if the Devils' camp would gain nearly as much interest from the public. I could be wrong, though; but I just think that while opening training camp to the public would be nice, it may not bring a significant benefit.