Finnish power forward Jesse Joensuu, who was called up from Bridgeport on Tuesday, knows he must seize this opportunity.
"Time is running out for me," said Joensuu, a second-round pick in the 2006 NHL entry draft. "It's time for me to show I have NHL abilities."
Interim coach Jack Capuano said he'd like to see Joensuu, who led Bridgeport with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 16 games before his recall, stick to the basics.
"Simplify his game," Capuano said when asked what the 23-year-old winger needed to do last night. "As a big guy, we don't want him playing so much east-west. We want him to keep moving forward. When he does that, he's difficult to stop."
Joensuu said he was disappointed with the outcome of his most recent training camp in September - after which he was sent down to Bridgeport.
"I felt I had a really good training camp and had my best [preseason] game against New Jersey,'' he said. "I really hoped they'd keep me, but when the time came and I was cut, it really hurt."
Before his first NHL game of the 2010-11 season last night, Joensuu said he'd do anything necessary to stick:
"If I'm playing on that fourth line, I just have to play physical, win puck battles, be a presence in front of the net and play gritty."
Captain Doug Weight missed the game with back spasms. Center Rob Schremp returned to the lineup in his absence . . . Defenseman Jack Hillen (concussion) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 12, when he suffered the injury during in a mid-ice collision during a 2-1 loss to San Jose . . . Goaltender Rick DiPietro is slated to start tonight in Atlanta.