When you hook up and bring back the biggest fish in free will, you hope they can swim.
Dougie Hamilton can swim.
Video: Dougie Hamilton | CAMP CRU 9.24.21
“I’ve been very impressed so far,” said New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff.
Expect, however, that one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League will fit in perfectly from day one and not skip a beat. He’s been in the game long enough that the pace and expectations of training camp practices didn’t surprise him.
“I think hockey practices are pretty standard,” said Hamilton. “At the end of the day you want to play games but practice is important and you try to go out and improve yourself and everyone around you and it was good today. I think we have scrums coming up soon and then we’ll get into the games and more practice and stuff like that, but it was a good first day and a lot of positivity and responsibility. “
As Hamilton erases the impact or fanfare of his first day in Newark, his head coach didn’t mince words when he approached his new defensive pillar.
“I was really impressed (Thursday) with the amount of work he put into the skating tests, how well he skated inside those tests,” said Ruff. “In fact, I was probably more impressed with him than anyone when it came to a veteran player and what he did in that test. out of the rink, 18 inches from the rink, pass the pucks and how fast he passed them. And that, added to the fact that he skates so well, I think he’s really going to be an important piece for us.
Friday, in particular, a connection between the rising star center of the Devils Jack hughes and Hamilton captured the attention of social and mainstream media. Hughes played down a single moment that only lasted a few seconds on the first day of camp, but it was nice to see a flash of dazzling between the two.
“It’s training so I didn’t really believe it, but it should be quite fun playing with him,” said Hughes.
“He can really shoot the puck,” Hughes continued. “He’s obviously a power play quarterback so hopefully he helps our blockbuster power play and improves it a lot.”
There’s no question that improving the power play is one of the most important items on Hamilton’s to-do list this season. Special teams were a pain point in New Jersey last year, but you can see the pieces of the puzzle starting to come together at camp.
Video: Lindy Ruff | CAMP CRU 9.24.21
“He sees the hole and he hits it,” Ruff said. “I think that’s one of his strengths, that he has this ability to pass the puck and create not only his own chance but also second rebound chances where you have guys in the right positions. and you get the goalie’s game and get second chances. “
It will take time for everything to fall into place and for now Hamilton is working on building some comfort in Jersey.
“I think we just introduced a little bit today, so I’m just trying to understand a little bit and obviously we have a long camp so I’m sure by the first game we’ll have it all figured out,” a he declared. “There was a lot to think about today, so I was just trying to get comfortable, come in and think about everything, so I’m sure I’m going to walk into the video room and try to figure it out. understand a little more the next time a few days. “
It’s only day one and as hopes fly high outside the walls of the Prudential Center because of players like Hamilton, inside the walls the message takes things one day at a time. What helps Hamilton in this regard is his level-headed attitude.
“I think he understands where we’re going with this and he wants to play a big role there,” Ruff said. “I think he’s the guy I really envisioned that really maintains stability. He’s not going to go up too high, not going to fall too low, and I think that’s a great trait for a key player. . “
He speaks softly and he’s the big fish.