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Sullivan eased in

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 7:05 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

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2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog
Sullivan eased in
Steve Sullivan isn't quite used to playing a limited role, particularly in the playoffs.

But the veteran had groin surgery in March and missed all but two of the team's final 22 games, so he's happy just to be in the lineup even if it's on the fourth line.

"These guys have gone to battle the last two months and gotten into the playoffs," Sullivan said.

"For me to think I'm just going to step in and try to make a difference - we got to think of a winning hockey club. It's not about trying to get me back in the lineup. Every game I can play, every extra minute I can play is a bonus right way."

Trotz said easing Sullivan back slowly is the right step.

"Sully's been in this position in the past," Trotz said.  "We ramped him up into a real high role and for the most part, he struggled in that role, because it's hard to go from 0 to 60 when you've been out a long time. From experience, we said, ‘Hey, we're not going to ramp him up there. We're just going to put him in a little lesser role and then if he can contribute from there, we'll build from there.'

Sullivan made the most of his 6:15 minutes of ice time as he scored Nashville's second goal in a 4-1 victory.

It was only his second goal in his past 13 playoff games.

"It felt great. It really did," he said ."It really felt to be able to make a contribution. (Trotz) had a hard time with the decision of putting me in there, and hopefully it was worth it."
Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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