"I'm a lot stronger when I do have the puck," said Nielsen, who played 54 games for the Sound Tigers and 15 for the New York Islanders last season. "No one is pushing me off the puck."
* The front office added bigger players this summer to keep guys like Nielsen from getting pushed around. Nielsen took matters into his own hands, too.
"He put it on in the right places," coach Jack Capuano said. "He came back with a toned upper body."
* Nielsen said he likes the added strength, though his legs will have to get used to carrying 15 more pounds. But adaptation, Nielsen understands. He needed about a month to adapt to the North American game; he was used to the European style of carrying the puck over the blue line, so he felt a step behind when his teammates would dump it in and chase it. Once he figured it out, the points came in a rush. He had four points in his first 11 AHL games; he scored 40 in his last 43.
"Last year, you look at the guy: The hockey sense is there. The character is there. The leadership is there," Capuano said. He had a goal and an assist with the Islanders, becoming the first player trained in Denmark to skate in the NHL. "Hopefully I'll be ready soon to go back up," Nielsen said. "My big goal is to be there next year."
* Albany finished with 81 points, just over .points-500, to take the final playoff spot; Bridgeport finished two points back, just under.
"Not being able to play the fun stuff, it's not fun," Nielsen said. "We need to be a playoff team."
"All we're looking for is guys who have some passion, guys who want to be held accountable, guys who want to play hard," Capuano said.
ARRIVALS — The group includes 13 players on AHL contracts, including returning captain Mark Wotton, second-goalie candidates Maxime Ouellet and Mike Mole, returning centerman Gregg Johnson and his younger brother Keith, tough Pascal Morency, Kazuma Takahashi of Japan, and youngsters Justin Bourne, Christian Gaudet, Tyler Haskins, Mitch Woods, Martin Frechette and Jordan Hart. Another 14 players are on tryouts, including New Canaan's Jeff Dwyer and — no relation — veteran Gordie Dwyer. Another tryout, forward Olivier Labelle, played for Syracuse last season.
Sound Tigers website had a report on day one of camp.
Preseason games are as follows:
9/26: vs Hartford
9/28: vs Providence
9/29: at Lowell
9/30: at Hartford
Season begins 10/6: