BINGHAMTON (WBNG) - The Binghamton Devils inaugural season starts Saturday night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05 p.m. at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Before the B-Devils take the ice, 12 Sports Director Larry Burneal caught up with Binghamton Devils head coach Rick Kowalsky for the first edition of B-Devils Sit-down.
A lot of new faces for Binghamton hockey fans to get to know. Who do you expect to be some of the leaders on the team this season?
"I think we have a lot of youth on our team, and we have some veterans who have come in here and we're going to rely on for leadership," said Binghamton Devils Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. "Brian Strait, Bracken Kearns are two guys that have been around the league. Tim Kennedy as well, (they) will have leadership roles, but they haven't played for me yet so we're going to rely on some young kids. Joe Blandisi is coming into his third year. Nick Lappin, Kevin Rooney, the list goes on and on. We have a lot of second year players, some first year players, that had impacts in their first couple years that we're expecting big things from this year."
Blake Speers is another guy a lot of hockey fans are excited to see here in Binghamton. How have you seen him grow this offseason?
"You could say it was a surprise last year that he stuck in the NHL," said Kowalsky. "I think he ended up playing ten or 12 games, which is great for him. Obviously, a huge boost for his confidence. I think a little more depth in the organization this year. I think he can take that and it can be a big part of his development. He's with us here now in Binghamton. He's a two-way guy. You always know what you are going to get from him. I think what the coaching staff last year in New Jersey really liked were the details of his game. How he hunted the puck when he lost possession. How he went to the net. How he stops in front. He's got a real good stick. He's a guy, that for a young guy, can play penalty-kill. He can play power-play. It depends on where he fits in with this group right now, but he's a kind of a swiss army knife for a young player and that's certainly a good quality to have. His versatility. He can play all three forward positions, so he is one of those guys that we looking for for big things from this year as a rookie coming into an already young team."