NOTEBOOK: HECHT REAPING THE REWARDS OF HARD WORK
Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 3:45 PM / News
By Erin Pollina - Sabres.com
|Carolina Hurricanes goalie Manny Legace, center, defends along with Jay Harrison (44) as Buffalo Sabres' Jochen Hecht (55), from Germany, tries to score during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, March 21, 2010. Buffalo won 5-3. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)|
The winger is experiencing one of his best seasons offensively, and with five goals in the last five games he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
“My legs are going good, I’m getting around the net to score some goals, so it’s a positive,” Hecht said. “Consciously there is nothing I changed about my game. I just try to do my job and work hard.”
It’s been paying off. Hecht net a pair of goals in Sunday’s win against Carolina to help solidify a three-goal lead, including capitalizing after he charged from the neutral zone to beat netminder Justin Peters five-hole, quickly changing from backhand to forehand.
Hecht is even on pace to break his career high of 22 goals that he set in the 2007-08 campaign. He currently has 19 scores and 39 points with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
“Sometimes when you get one or two, things fall into place and you get more,” he said. “I think that’s what has happened now, but I’m going to keep working on getting even more and keep this thing rolling.”
While Head Coach Lindy Ruff has praised him for his leadership abilities, even being named captain in seasons past with the rotating letter, his offensive production slipped in the 2008-09 season.
The winger struggled to find a balance, struggled offensively and held a minus-9 rating. But after working hard in the offseason and fine-tuning his game, Hecht has once again found success.
“I think that right now he’s put last year behind him and played maybe as consistent as any one of our players through the year - on the offensive side of it and the defensive side of it,” Ruff said.
Ruff updated the status of Raffi Torres who has missed the last two contests with an upper body injury.
“He saw our doctors yesterday, had an MRI done and was evaluated,” Ruff said.” “Hopefully it’s basically just a day-to-day [injury], where we’ve just got to get him feeling better.”
Torres has two assists in seven games with the Sabres since being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 3.
Ruff also said he will continue to rotate defensemen Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera.
“I don’t know how long that will last, but I just want to keep both guys involved,” Ruff said. “They are both good players. Andrej came back from the Olympics, had a real good Olympics, and we’ve got to keep everybody ready.”
Ryan Miller is among five players deliberating over an interim headshot rule as part of the NHLPA’s competition committee.
The League’s general managers proposed to expedite a rule that would ban blindside hits to the head for the remainder of the season. Miller – along with Brian Campbell, Jeff Halpern, Mathieu Schneider and Jason Spezza – are determining whether to agree to the rule, and impose it.
“The diet version of this proposed rule change would see supplemental discipline only, and not on-ice penalties as the original rule recommended from GMs asked for two weeks ago. The full, permanent rule change will be voted on this summer and possibly put into effect for next season.
“We are making sure all of our members are aware of what the league is recommending," Buffalo Sabres star goalie Ryan Miller, a member of the competition committee, told ESPN.com via e-mail late Monday afternoon. "After everyone knows the options, we will proceed. Even though it is the right direction, we can't 'surprise' players with a rule while in season.”
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