The freedom to experiment is one of the silver linings of being out of a playoff position. And if there’s one thing the Buffalo Sabres are, it’s extremely free to experiment.
Recently, coach Ted Nolan has been experimenting with Cody Hodgson on the wing, as opposed to his usual center position.
“We want to see where he best fits with the team moving forward,” Nolan said, per the Olean Times Herald. “Maybe he’s a better winger. Also, you have to get him with the right people, get him the puck because once Cody has the puck within a certain footage of that net, he has a good chance of putting it in.
“He’s not known for his great defense, and we don’t want him to play great defense. We want him to score offensively. But you have to be reliable defensively. One thing about the wing position, it’s not as complicated as playing center ice.”
Nor does playing the wing require a player to cover so much ice to support the puck. And given Hodgson isn’t the fastest skater in the league, that may be another reason for this experiment.
Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.
Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.
You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.
Here’s his second assist for good measure:
Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.
Phaneuf on the Ottawa crowd reaction: "It gave me chills."