Nine: Tampa & Detroit
Tuesday, 11.11.2008 / 5:26 PM ET / Blogs
The popular first-round draft pick (4th overall) in 2001, is in his seventhh NHL season, all with the Cats. The Toronto, Ontario native had his second straight 40 point season, finishing with 13 goals and 29 assists in 74 games. He also set a career high in game-winning goals with four.
Well, we ended the road trip in a good way. We beat a good team and I thought we played well. I think we got better as the trip went on. A sluggish start, but we regrouped and it was a good challenge for us with the back-to-back games in Phoenix and Anaheim. So it was a big two points and now we have two big games at home.
It goes to show - we lose six in a row and then we beat one of the hottest teams at the time - on any given night, any team can win. We’ve got to make sure we try and bring that same consistent work ethic every night. We’re going to work hard every night, but we have to be smart. I think the L.A., game we had way too many turnovers and that killed us in the long run, and penalties, too. We stayed out of the penalty box in Anaheim.
We just got to bring the same work ethic and be smart. It’s one thing to work hard, but you have to be smart at the same time.
Play Tampa tomorrow and they have a lot of offense. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to compete defensively and try to eliminate the scoring chances for their big guys. The more we can play in their zone the better we’re going to be. We don’t want to be in our zone or killing penalties all night.
Division games are huge. If you win your division you’re at least third in the conference. So these games are key. They’re a couple points ahead of us and they got a lot of big guns up front.
We have Detroit Friday. Everyone knows what they’re about. They won the Cup last year and they’re the cream of the crop so we have our work cut out for us Friday. But we have to worry about Tampa first.
I’ve never played so many games against the Western Conference so soon in the season. Playing a lot of teams you don’t play a lot against, a lot of travel, a lot of back-to-back games. But that’s all part of it, part of the league. It’s something young guys have to get used to… learning to play when you’re tired and a little mentally fatigued. As a young team, we have to get better and find ways to win.
Talk to you soon.