As reported earlier, Peter Harrold will replace Alec Martinez as a defenseman tomorrow night against the Ducks. Martinez has zero points, a minus-2 rating and two penalty minutes in four games this season. Harrold has played 24 games this season, but only one — his first, on Oct. 6 against San Jose — as a defenseman.
Here’s what Terry Murray said today about the defensive swap, followed by some thoughts from Harrold…
MURRAY: “Martinez was a little bit behind the play. The two games that he played, those are against premier teams in the game. It’s a true test of where a player is at; there’s no question. It was very demanding. He’s a better player today than what we saw in training camp, and that’s really a good thing, but just off in some areas.
“So Harry has been here. He’s that utility guy that I’ve talked about, and he’s been a part of the team for a couple years. He knows what we’re doing. He knows the expectations that we have of him, and he’s going to go in and play with Jones as his partner.”
Here’s the conversation from today with Harrold…
Question: Did you get any particular message from Terry?
HARROLD: “He just said that I would be back in the lineup tomorrow, and obviously I’m excited about that. He said to just keep it simple and do the right things. They have faith in me, so that’s good.”
Question: You’ve been practicing on defense for probably 40 percent of this season. There shouldn’t be much of a re-adjustment, right?
HARROLD: “Yeah. I haven’t been away from it for that long. I’ve played it for most of my life, so I’m pretty comfortable.”
Question: Terry has mentioned, both with you and Drewiske, that moving from forward back to defense often gives guys a boost, because they’ve had a different perspective. Do you find that to be true?
HARROLD: “Yeah, not only that, but it’s a little different kind of conditioning playing forward. Playing D is a little more cerebral, and you have to make more decisions and stuff like that. With skating, forwards get a little more work done, and I think that helps me to come back, because you can keep your wind longer and, if you do get caught out there, you’re not as tired as quickly. So that helps.”
Question: Being in the position you’re in, in the standings now, is there a pyschological aspect to staying in the top eight?
HARROLD: “Obviously you want to stay in the top eight, but if there’s an unfortunate occurance and that does happen, we can bounce right back. It’s a tight race, and by no means do we think that we’ve solidified a playoff spot or that we can lose one within a week or two. It’s all about the next game, and keeping pace with everyone else.”