Sens defenceman Patrick Wiercioch has made his way back into the lineup over the last week or so and the results have been encouraging. He has two points over a three game span — one of which came on the power play — and, in what is typically an endorsement of performance under Paul MacLean, Wiercioch was on the ice for 30 shifts and logged 23:08 of ice time in Carolina — one of the highest totals on the team.
Today Wiercioch spoke about settling back into the lineup and readjusting to the right side of the blueline.
Here's what he had to say...
On the weekend's games:
I thought the game in Detroit was a great game for us as a team, I thought we showed some good signs that we were moving in the right direction. In Carolina we didn't come out how we wanted to. Hopefully we can just get more consistent, I think that's the breakdown from it, I think everyone just wants to know where the structure is going to be and where everyone is going to be and once we solve that mystery we should be fine.
On where he is trying to improve his game:
Closing the gap, I think any time you're in and out of the lineup you don't trust yourself nearly as much as you should. When you have that confidence and you're closing the gap on guys, pucks are hitting you and the puck is getting turned out the other way quicker than you need to defend. I think as a team if we're tentative and we're laying back, we're not going to have that jump and the bounces going our way.
On getting a few bounces to get confidence:
I think naturally with my game I've never considered myself a goal scoring defenceman, I always try to look for the open guy and being able to make the pass, the stretch pass kind of thing. I think using my shot, I've got to do a little bit better job creating lanes for myself and getting them through. There's no excuse for getting a shot blocked, either there's a play there or there's not. You know, I've just got to find that first one through and I think they'll all follow.
On settling into the right side:
I'm working on it, I like it. I think once you're used to it it'll be second nature but you've got to focus on it. You can't just go in and think it's going to come naturally because there's things about it you've got to work on. You've got to work on your body positioning to get open.
On playing with Cowen:
He's a big, physical defenceman so that's great for me as a partner. I know guys aren't going to take him on one-on-one down low so it's my job to try and force guys to get into his way and get the puck after. I think together we're working on communicating a little bit better and that's time you've just got to spend on the bench and in practice knowing where each other wants to be and knowing how each other is going to read each play.
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