Devils left wing Jay Pandolfo became a father for the first time on July 2 when his wife, Juliane, gave birth to a boy the couple named Sam. That took up a bunch of Pandolfo's free time this summer.
"That kept us busy. That's for sure," Panfoldo said. "It was great."
Sam Pandolfo arrived the day after Jay's longtime teammate and linemate, John Madden left the Devils to sign with Chicago as an unrestricted free agent. Pandolfo was one of the first to know. He spoke with Madden on the phone that day.
"It kind of hasn't really sunk in yet because training camp hasn't started and the season hasn't started," Pandolfo said of Madden no longer being a Devil. "But once it starts, it will be definitely be different. He played here for a long time and we had a pretty good run together. I was disappointed to see him go, but you kind of get used to this part of the business where guys are going to move around."
After struggling and seeing his role reduced last season by former head coach Brent Sutter, Pandolfo will have an opportunity to get a fresh start with Jacques Lemaire coming back as head coach. Pandolfo is one of the few Devils who played for Lemaire during his first stint with the Devils from 1993-94 to 1997-98.
"I've played for a lot of coaches here," Pandolfo said. "Any time you have a new coach it's exciting. I've had Jacques before, so I'm excited to have him back. He's a really intelligent hockey mind and it's going to be great for us."
Lemaire's reputation as a defensive-minded coach might help a strong defensive forward such as Pandolfo, particularly after the struggles he had last year playing for Sutter.
"Last year was difficult year for me, but I'm putting that behind me," he said. "I'm not going to dwell on last year. I'm looking forward to this season and I'm excited for it."
Pandolfo believes his role will be the same.
"I'm probably going to be doing a lot of the same things -- killing penalties," Pandolfo said. "I'm not sure who I'll be playing with or what, so I'll just kind of wait and see."
Pandolfo said some of his teammates have asked him about what it's like to play for Lemaire.
"I just say that he's a great coach," he said. "He really is. I was only with him for a short time (69 games over two seasons), but I learned a lot from him. I remember a lot of stuff that I learned from him to this day. So, he's going to help a lot of guys. Just the little things that happen out there that you make you better as a hockey player and make you better as a team, he's really good at teaching."