That’s the main news out of practice today, that Ruslan Fedotenko made it through a full practice with his bruised hand, and will play tomorrow.
Will have more info and some quotes in a bit.
“He’s a big part of our team. He’s much better today and I’m sure he’ll be much better tomorrow.
“It’s just a great signing as far as what we signed him for, and he’s grown into a guy that I use in all situations — we’ve lost some people, Gaborik for a number of games this year, Prospal hasn’t even played — and I’ve been able to move Feds up to top-line situations. And you have to consider Boyle’s line one of our top lines now, and he plays on that too. It’s just been a good line all along. We put him in penalty-kill situations. He’s a big part to our game this year.”
“I have no assessment at all. I can’t tell in practice. He can skate like hell, though, and I knew that. I’ve watched him and he’s a terrific skater.”
“I know Kenny (Gernander) runs a high-tempo practice down there. They practice very hard, and we try to do the same thing here, but there’s more skill. I think there’s more tempo and it gives us, the NHL coaching staff, to get a look at him. Whether he plays a game or not, I don’t know. But he has come along, the way you’re supposed to in the American League. He’s grown little by little in a tough position, so this is good stuff. It’s another young kid that we’re looking at here, at a very important position.”
“(Gilroy’s) going in. Gilly deserves to play . And Del Z will pop into (McDonagh’s) spot and play a ton of minutes down there.”
“I think (Gilroy) has more confidence (now). He’s done a really good job in pinching, keeping our offense going. He’s carried the puck very well. He’s improved defensively. As I said when I was making decision and he was out, there really wasn’t much difference along the way there. Sometimes it was (Eminger), sometimes it was Del Z, sometimes with (Rozsival) I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. But we made the decision that those are the six and Gilly was sitting out. But Michael’s game has struggled and Gilly’s game has improved, so these are the six, and we just don’t want Michael sitting around.
“It’s important that he get playing and I think get in better shape, too. He’s missed some time (working out) with the break and his groin and all that, so conditioning’s a thing, too.”
“(Gilroy) handled himself well (during his time out of the lineup). He certainly wasn’t running around and being a social chairman around here. He was upset he wasn’t playing, which I hope players are upset when they’re not playing, but it wasn’t putting an effect on the team and dragging anybody down. He just kept waiting his turn. We’d put him in and take him out, and he just kept himself ready and has improved. Gilly isn’t a top four for us right now, but he has shown, mentally he has stayed together and has improved his game.”
On Del Zotto’s demotion:
“I just don’t think it’s a big deal. This is part of the process for the young players, especially at that position. Gilly’s 24 and we sent him down. Michael’s 20 years old. I think it might be a little different because Michael spent the whole year (here) last year and came in with a little bit of a flash. But as you settle in, you keep on playing, there’s still a lot of things to learn in this game for a 20-year-old defenseman. This is what we feel is best for him right now. We have to be concerned about putting our best team out there, but also be concerned about developing our players. That’s why you have a minor-league team.”
On Weise learning from the offensive-zone penalty he took:
“I hope so. We’ll see. You get pinned to the bench after just a dumb penalty. We did a lot of tape-work as a team and he was on the clips as what’s expected and you hope it happens.”
On the youth, and whether it keeps a coach up nights:
“Are you kidding me? This is the great … I couldn’t be happier as far as the youth on our team, and whether we make mistakes, this is where it’s at for this organization. I say it again … and I’m looking to bring more young guys if we can. I think it’s terrific and I couldn’t be more excited about the foundation of our team, and that’s our kids. So if there’s another one and another guy falters, I will not be afraid to put a kid in. There will be some mistakes. There’s going to be bumps. But I couldn’t be happier as far as the youth of our club.
“And I mean it. I couldn’t be more excited about the youth.”