To be a successful two-way player up there, which I think I can be and am ready to be, I just need to bring it every day. Obviously you can always work on different aspects of your game. But just bringing the same game every night is what I’m going to try to work on and hopefully have success on down here. - Drew Shore
GLENS FALLS, NY -- All-Star Drew Shore gives the Adirondack Flames much-needed extra firepower as they try to snap a three-game skid with back-to-back contests against Rochester this weekend.
The 23-year-old centerman will be making his Adirondack debut following a Jan. 9 trade that brought him to the Flames from San Antonio (Panthers) in exchange for forward Corban Knight.
However, he was called right up to Calgary after the deal where he played in one game before getting reassigned to the AHL this week.
“I thought, due my waiver status in Florida, that I might get traded, but I put that in the back of my mind,” Shore said. “I just concentrated on playing hockey. I’m just looking for a fresh start and I’m happy to be part of the Flames organization.”
His 30 points, all scored with San Antonio, take over the team lead from fellow All-Star Emile Poirier, who had been leading the Flames with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists). Shore will be skating on a line with Poirier and Sven Baertschi (5 goals, 12 assists).
“Obviously, chemistry with your linemates is something that takes time,” Shore said. “Right now I’m skating with two really good linemates. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to fit in here. I just want to be able to fit in starting Friday.”
Adirondack is at Rochester tonight (Friday) and returns home Saturday to host the Americans, the last game prior to Monday’s AHL All-Star Classic in Utica.
“These are two huge games going into the break,” Shore said. “The power play is something we’ve really worked on this week. Obviously, special teams are such a big part of the game today. If you have a good power play and penalty kill that can lead to wins. I just want to have two good games and hopefully help the team get two wins.”
The Flames’ power play is ninth in the league (17.5 percent, 30-for-171) while its penalty killing is ranked 10th (85.4 percent), having allowed 25 goals in 171 opposition chances.
Adirondack (22-15-3-1) desperately needs to get back in the win column. The Flames, with an extremely light January schedule, have slipped from fourth to sixth place in the Western Conference standings, as Milwaukee and San Antonio have played more games and surpassed them. Seventh-place Chicago is just one point behind Adirondack.
The Flames have a 4-3 record against Rochester (17-23-1-0) this year. Netminder Brad Thiessen recorded his first shutout of the year the last time the teams met.
However, both he and the Flames have been winless since number one goaltender Joni Ortio was called up to Calgary earlier this month.
But Ortio, along with forward Markus Granlund and defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon, were reassigned to Adirondack on Thursday, which should strengthen their lineup immeasurably this weekend.
Shore said he was extremely impressed by Adirondack’s style of play, during the two games he played against them while still with San Antonio.
“Both times we came in here we lost,” he said. “This team has a lot of good things going for it. If you’ve got a good combination of skill and work ethic that makes you a pretty successful team. That’s one of the reasons they are where they are, in a playoff spot right now.”
His first skate with Adirondack this week was on Wednesday.
“Actually, I got a couple of practices in here before I got called up to Calgary,” Shore said. “It’s been great, They’re a fun group, obviously a talented group. I’m just hoping that I can help them win some games.
This weekend will mark his second time playing in the All-Star Classic. The skills competition is set for Sunday, followed by the game Monday night.
“It’s always great to play the game, but relax, have some fun and take a breather,” he said. “It’s a pretty laid-back environment. It’s a lot of fun. We play so many competitive games and practices during the year, you kind of use the All-Star Game to relax and have fun.”
Then it will be back to work as Adirondack heads down the home stretch toward a possible playoff berth. Obviously, Shore has clear goals in mind for improving his own personal game.
A second-round (44th overall) 2009 Panthers draft pick, he made his pro debut with San Antonio at the end of the 2012 campaign, after his collegiate season at the University of Denver was over. He split the following year (2012-13) between San Antonio and Florida and played another 24 NHL games last season as a Panther.
In 68 career NHL games he has eight goals and 12 assists.
His highest priority is simple.
“I think just being consistent,” Shore said. “To be a successful two-way player up there, which I think I can be and am ready to be, I just need to bring it every day. Obviously you can always work on different aspects of your game. But just bringing the same game every night is what I’m going to try to work on and hopefully have success on down here.”