Most importantly, we need to cut down on shots against. I’m told Ilya Bryzgalov is facing an average of 33 shots every game. That’s way too many. Cutting down on shots per game, however, is not as simple as it sounds. It falls on everyone, defensemen and forwards. We also have to cut down on turnovers in our zone. There’s a laundry list of things we need to do to get that number down.
I always enjoy playing games in Canada. It’s already cold up here, which is nice, and we’re getting a lot of media coverage. For some reason, the stakes seem higher when you play games in the rinks up here.
Someone asked me if I was surprised to see four hat tricks for our team in the first 17 games of the season. My answer is yes and no. You have to remember that when I first came into the league there were still guys scoring 150 points in a season, but to be on a team that isn’t supposed to be scoring very much, it’s pretty cool to see.
A quick thought on Oliver Ekman-Larsson
, who is now honing his skills in the AHL: Trust me, he’s going to be a great NHL defenseman. I think our schedule has had the most to do with him struggling here a little bit. He came to us over here after playing the European schedule of a couple games per week, and the last month and a half for us has been as bad as I’ve ever had it. We were about five or six games behind most teams after the Prague trip and I think now we’ve played more games than a lot of teams so we’ve really been playing catch-up. For a young guy still learning the game, that schedule is very taxing. I expect he’ll be back with us soon because, again, he’s that good.