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.
Paul Branecky
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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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72