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Pregame notes: Isles at Devils
-- Jack Capuano said Rick DiPietro will play as long as he feels he can tonight here in Newark, whether that's 30-40 minutes or even the full 60. Kevin Poulin is the backup. Capuano said Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya will split duties on Saturday night against the Bruins in Bridgeport.
-- Brian Rolston (groin) skated on his own this morning at IceWorks; Milan Jurcina (groin) did not. Capuano said the Isles may keep an eighth defenseman next week, leading up to the Oct. 8 opener against the Panthers; Bridgeport opens its AHL season the same night, so whomever sticks around wouldn't miss any game time in the minors.
Aaron Ness has earned praise from Capuano and others around the team for his skill level and poise so far. If the Isles keep an eighth D-man, Ness seems likely to be the guy.
"I see attitude and confidence," Capuano said of Ness, who played the final 13 games of last season with Bridgeport after finishing his junior season at the University of Minnesota. "He's not the biggest guy out there (5-foot-10, 170), but the way the NHL is today, that's not a problem. He defends well -- that's the first thing you notice about him. He can skate and move the puck. He's very intriguing to me."
Ness will pair with Mark Eaton tonight.
-- Steve Staios' 1-year, $800,000 contract affirms that the 38-year-old made the right decision when he chose to come to Isles camp on a tryout.
"There were other offers, contracts discussed, but this felt like the right fit," Staios said. "Right from when I got here, I knew I wasn't just dipping a toe in to feel my way around. I wanted to come here and be a big part of this club."
He may get just that. Staios will pair with captain Mark Streit tonight and that pairing is one that could easily be on the ice to open the season in eight days.
"I don't know if I had that in mind," Staios said. "But we played together that first game (on Saturday) and you could see our styles complemented each other. If he wants to go do his thing and jump up in the play, he knows I'm going to be back there, making the simple pass and being in position."
-- Capuano said the other Isles' veteran tryout, Jay Pandolfo, is inching closer to a roster spot as well. Pandolfo will play tonight, making him 4-for-4 in preseason games.
"I've been impressed with his game," Capuano said. "When we talk about roles, he's a guy who fits in well. He's right there with some other guys."