ENNIS THE MENACE MOVES TO CENTER
Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 2:43 PM ET
- Tyler Ennis returns to the lineup after missing 17 games due to injury (high ankle sprain).
- Ennis will shift to center on a line with Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe.
- Paul Gaustad will be a game-time decision; he has missed last three games with upper body injury.
- Ryan Miller expected to start in goal.
WHAT THEY WERE SAYING TODAY
Lindy Ruff (click to hear full audio)
With basically your full lineup back tonight, can you get the guys back to how the opened the season in Europe?
We’ve had a tough ride. Getting back to that point isn’t just flipping a switch. It’s gonna take a total team effort. I don’t think it’s that easy.
What have you seen in Ennis that prompted you to move him to center?
We need a little creativity there in the middle. I think his speed and creativity should give us some of that. He’s always had a pretty good link with Stafford. We started the season with those two guys together. Tyler was in on a great number of Staff’s goals last year. If he can free him up for an extra one or two times per game, then it should help us generate a few more goals.
Is being without Hecht one of the reasons you shifted Ennis to center?
Part of it is. We’re gonna need somebody to step in there. It’s a little bit of a gamble, little bit of a guess. But it’s worth taking a shot at.
Tyler Ennis (click to hear full audio)
What was going through your mind when you re-injured your ankle in December?
It was just frustrating. I thought I got it going right before, but when I hurt it again it was pretty frustrating. I feel good, ready to go; can’t wait.
What are you looking forward to about playing center?
I think just having the puck a little more, skating the puck out and taking charge a little bit. I’ve played center in the minors, in junior, and a little bit up here. I’m excited to switch it up a bit. I’m gonna have the puck a bit more, so I can create more that way.
Did you really learn to play center while you were in Portland?
I played it growing up. But playing in the d-zone and technically, it was a good time for me to play center in Portland. There are bigger guys, so positionally it helped me a lot there. There are a lot of smaller guys that play center in this league. It’s all about having a good stick, being smarter and quicker.