Sens defenceman Patrick Wiercioch got his pre-season off to a quality start last night against Toronto with a two assist performance, which earned him second star honours. It was also Wiercioch's first attempt playing the right side of the blueline as he lined up alongside Fredrik Claesson for the Sens.
Here's what Patrick had to say about his performance and a handful of other topics...
On playing the right side:
It's a work in progress. Obviously I thought there was times where I felt really comfortable offensively on that side of the puck, but defensively it's going to take some time getting used to it. Just working on your pivots both ways — I think even though you try and practice both ways in the summer, naturally you just pivot one way better so it's definitely something I need to work on and making sure my timing is right on that side.
On trying to make plays on the puck:
I went into last night's game thinking if I played real well it wouldn't make much of a difference how I approached the camp. Same thing if I played really poorly, it's a learning process and I'm trying to get as much confidence as I can going into the year. I thought there was times that I made the right play and I thought there was times that I held on to it one second too long. Having Gonch there last year on the right side, he made it look really easy making plays on his backhand so I guess it's something you have to build confidence in and know that you can make the play without having to bring it back to your forehand.
On playing the power play with Karlsson:
He's a dynamic player so any time he wants to skate I'll back him up. Obviously I thought we had some really good chances last night, we weren't able to put it in the back of the net but, I mean, we did at the very least keep the momentum going on the power play, got some shots and I'm sure once we get a little more practice in we'll be clicking a little better.
On playing with Claesson:
It was awesome. Obviously he was really excited for his first goal there and it doesn't matter if it's pre-season, it's still special to throw on a Sens jersey and put one in. It took him a little while to get one in the A, I guess it's a lot easier to score up here.
On his comfort level:
It was better as the game went on. Obviously the first couple of shifts you're still trying to feel out the timing, it's the first game I've played in a few months. If you don't count the playoff shift I got injured on it's almost six months since my last game so, you know, just trying to read the process, seeing the forecheck come at you and knowing who's open, where your guys are, systems, trying to play that all out and make a read. As the game went on I thought it got better. I think the hands started to pick up where the mind was going so at that point you stop thinking about the plays and start making them.
On his passing:
I don't think I've had the knack to break away like Karl so I've had to make something else of it. Honestly I had a coach once who just said once that 'If you've got a 30 goal scorer in front of you, you better give it to him,' so if there's someone — you never want to slow your team down, our team is built around a lot of speed up front, all 12 forwards can skate on our roster — we try to get them in stride and not make their game slow.
On hybrid icing:
I like it, we played a bit with it in the American League last year. It gives you that competitiveness to get back for the puck and takes away a little bit of that risk with two guys reaching, one stick ahead of the other. Who knows, skates could catch, anything within that five foot range of the boards is pretty risky so I personally like it. I don't know how the league is viewing it but it's a step in the right direction I guess and I'd like to have it stick around.
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