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At the Rink blog

Cole's season debut met with rave reviews

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 2:18 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Cole's season debut met with rave reviews
ST. LOUIS -- When Ken Hitchcock stepped behind the Blues' bench for the first time Tuesday night, not much changed as far as the lineup was concerned.

However, one change turned into a very bright spot, where recently recalled defenseman Ian Cole stepped in.

Cole, who played 26 games and recorded 1 goal and 3 assists in his first stop of NHL duty last season, played in his first game this season after being called up from the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen.

It may have arguably been his best game as a pro.

"Really good," Hitchcock said of Cole's game. "I don't even know anything about him and he just looked like an NHL player yesterday.

"He was strong, he won a lot of 1-on-1s, very competitive. ... I liked the part that he was comfortable moving the puck in the middle of the ice instead, rather than just banging it off the boards getting it out. He made plays in the middle of the ice and really got us out of trouble."

Cole didn't register a point in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Chicago but played solid with partner Roman Polak. Cole played 18 minutes, 59 seconds, and blocked two shots in the game, but as Hitchcock said, made smart decisions.

"I really liked it," Cole said of his game. "I thought as a whole it was good, but as far as dissecting it, there were definitely things I could have done better."

Such as?

"I can think of four or five things I wish I could have done differently," Cole said. "As soon as they happened, I was like, 'Why did I do that?'

"I'm probably my hardest critic."

Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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