Rookie defenseman Matt Corrente said this morning that his shoulder is "100 percent" as he prepares to begin rookie training camp with the Devils.
Rookies reported for physicals at 7 a.m. this morning at Prudential Center. They will have their first on-ice session on Thursday.
Corrente, the Devils' first round pick, 30th overall, in 2006, missed most of the team's rookie camp in July because of a shoulder strain that suffered in a fight with Ashton Bernard during drills.
"It's 100 percent," he said. "It was just a little strain and they just didn't want to make it any worse."
Although he was injured in a fight, when I asked him, Corrente wouldn't say he would refrain from fighting during training camp.
"I'm going to play my game," he said after a long pause. "If something happens, it happens. It's part of the game. I'm not going to say, 'no.' It's going to change my style. I'm going to do what I do."
Corrente believes there is an opportunity to make the NHL team in camp, but he has to earn it.
"I don't think it's a job to be won necessarily," he said. "It's up to me. I just want to come and have the best camp I can. I feel when I'm ready I'm going to be there. It's all up to me. I can't think about behind the scenes the things that are going on."
Corrente is taking a less tense approach to camp this year. He admitted he was too nervous during last year's training camp when it appeared he would have an opportunity to make the team, but played poorly and ended up in Lowell (AHL) for the entire season.
"I'm more relaxed, living in the moment, one day at a time," he said. "Each day is another opportunity for the next. I'm just taking it one day at time."
Corrente says his new attitude is a result of his maturation.
"It's almost 100 percent maturity," he said. "I feel like I'm come a long way in that respect and I'm feeling good. I'm ready to get the season going and I'm excited."
Some players might feel pressure heading into training camp as a first-round pick who has yet to play in the NHL three years after being drafted, but Corrente says that doesn't bother him.
"I like the pressure," he said. "I do put a lot of pressure on myself. I don't mind. I have high expectations. I take it all with respect and you can't let it get to you."
Corrente fared much better in his first two training camps with the Devils than he did a year ago. He believes he is a different player now, though -- in a good way.
"I think a really big part is the maturity aspect," he said. "I realized pretty quickly that this is a job and a career for these guys and I just want to get better every day."
The positive side of playing all of 2008-09 in Lowell is that Corrente got extensive experience in his first year as a pro. He also was able to work quite often with special assigment coach (and Hall of Famer) Scott Stevens. Corrente said Stevens was in Lowell quite often last season.
"Any time I get on the ice with Scotty, I try to take in as much in as I can," Corrente said. "He's a master of the game. I learned a lot. He was on the ice practicing with us, showing us little things. Just little things that people don't really see, but it makes a world of difference."
Center Rod Pelley was among those who had to report with the rookies for physicals today and will be on the ice with them for three extra sessions before the veterans begin on-ice work on Sunday.
Pelley credited playing partners Aaron Broten and Andy Greene for his team posting the low score in the best ball competition in the alumni golf outing Tuesday.
"Aaron Broten is a great golfer," Pelley said. "He' and Greener's backs are probably sore today (from carrying the team). Then (Rob) Skrlac and I just tapped in a few."