He was thrown into the fire, with Boyd Gordon out of the lineup with a back injury. Rob Klinkhammer slid over from the wing to centre last night against the Dallas Stars.
“It was tough,” said Klinkhammer. “It’s a lot different from what I’m used to, obviously. I’ve got to be a little more patient low and in the middle. You can’t run around as much. It’s tough to get hits like that where I’m just used to going up and down my wall, crashing and banging. I don’t think I’m going to be a regular centreman in the NHL, but it’s nice to fill in while those guys are out.”
Anytime you switch positions it can be a tough transition.
“He was good. He’s a great player,” Klinkhammer’s linemate Matt Fraser said. “It’s obviously hard changing positions but he did a great job. It kind of falls on me and (Luke Gazdic) to help him out on faceoffs and stuff like that. But he was good. He was talking lots on the ice and that’s all you can ask for.”
Klinkhammer played just 6:46, all even strength. He finished the night with a takeaway, a blocked shot and was 0-for-5 in the faceoff dot.
“He was good. I think he’ll tell you himself he struggled in the circle a little bit, but he was good,” Gazdic said. “He got adjusted pretty quickly. He said he had a history there a little bit. We were just trying to give as much help as we could and I thought we were good in our own end and got a couple chances offensively too.”
Klinkhammer took a few faceoffs at morning skate, but had a tough time matching up against established centres in the game.
“It was tough. It was a lot harder than I thought,” Klinkhammer said. “They had some good guys over there so they won them pretty clean on me.”
He added, “Those guys have been doing it their whole lives and they definitely have a leg up on me. It was a tough go, but that’s the way it happens.”
Gordon will travel with the team and could play sometime on this upcoming road trip.