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Tracking the Storm

Brind'Amour's Return Causes Shuffle

Tuesday, 02.10.2009 / 1:02 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Brind\'Amour\'s Return Causes Shuffle
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Today’s experience on the wing was a different one for Brandon Sutter, who first saw he’d be playing on the right side of Rod Brind’Amour and Ryan Bayda when arriving at the rink for today’s practice.
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“It’s pretty new,” he said  “I played it a little bit two years ago in junior for maybe a month or two, but it’s definitely a little different than what I used to.  It’s probably nothing I can’t figure out, so I’ll be fine with it.”

Paul Maurice’s line combinations at today’s session resulted from an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” policy that saw him keep the team’s first three offensive units together from Saturday’s 7-2 win over Phoenix – easily the team’s biggest of the season in terms of victory margin. 

“What we did today was finish with the three lines intact what we finished with in Phoenix, and clearly we were happy with the performance both offensively and defensively,” said Maurice.  “We’ll make adjustments as we go over the course of the game.  I don’t want to get too set on those.”

Sutter shifting to the wing came as a result of Rod Brind’Amour returning to practice after a week off to nurse a groin injury.  The newly-acquired Jussi Jokinen slotted into Brind’Amour’s spot centering the third line for that game.

Although Sutter hasn’t spent much time on the wing at any point throughout his career, Maurice didn’t seem concerned with making that move today.

“To be able to move people around comfortably and not have to take them out of their element is really important,” said Maurice.  “(Players like) Chad LaRose and Patty Eaves both, it’s a flip of the coin on what side they want to play on any given night, and there are a number of players like that.  I think you see that more in the NHL now than ever.  A lot of players come into our league as natural centers and then they move out to the wings if the situation dictates.  We have a number of players who can play all three.”

As for Brind’Amour, Sutter’s new linemate, by all accounts he looked and felt fine and is expected to play in Thursday night’s game in Florida.

“He got through practice today quite well, and I thought he was moving early on as well as he has in the last two months,” said Maurice.  “When you’re dealing with muscles though, I think it’s the next day.  You go out and push yourself here today, and it’s really how you wake up the next morning and how you feel, but based on what we saw today he looks like he’s ready to go.”

“It felt fine,” said Brind’Amour, who thinks the week off the ice will eventually leave him more rested for the playoff drive.  “I was a little winded when we did a little skate at the end, but I looked around and everybody else was sucking wind too, so I’m not really sure if that was from the layoff or if it was just a tough little skate.”

Expect the current lines to hold until Thursday’s game, when Paul Maurice could make some changes based on what he sees.  Scott Walker likely won’t be ready for that game, as he still isn’t feeling well enough to practice.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62