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February 18, 2013 1:52 pm

February 18 practice quotes: Mike Richards

On what has influenced the power play improvement:
“I think the big thing is just the work that we’ve done on it. We’ve run through at least twice a week in practice where everyone’s going to be or what kind of plays we need to have. When you have that – I know where Drew’s going to be 90% of the time. I know where Kopi’s going to be and so on. So I think having that awareness on the ice obviously helps out a lot. You don’t always have to look and think of where people are going to be. You can think and then take a quick peek more so than seeing where everyone is. [Davis Payne] has done a good job of showing us what they’re going to do before the game, and what’s going to work. Even though we haven’t scored in some games, I still think we’ve had some opportunities to score [and] some good looks.”

On what percentage of the power play is instinct and feel versus actual set plays:
“I’d say 98% instinct, 2% set plays. I think you have positions, soft positions that you’re going to be. The rest is filling holes, finding open ice and seeing shots, seeing passes. At the end of the day, it’s just executing your passes and your shots and your break-ins and stuff like that. You look at the best power plays in the league, they have guys that have been there together the longest. When you have that, obviously, it helps.”

On the team’s improvement in entering the attacking zone with the puck:
“That’s what Payner does for us, is show us…and tell us what’s going to work, and if we go through that first one and don’t have success, we’ll talk about it after the first intermission and see what they’re going to do again or see what they’re doing differently, and what we can do differently. Sometimes it’s just minor routes [where] Jeff goes to the middle instead of staying wide, or I go to the middle…it’s just minor things usually, but it does help.”

On what has caused the dip in faceoff success this season:
“I think playing on the road as many games as we have is something that affects faceoffs in a major way, to be honest with you. It’s not an excuse – it is something that affects faceoffs. I know I like to put my stick down last on faceoffs, and to be honest, you can cheat a little bit more when you’re at home because you do have that last move. It definitely plays a factor on it. I know for me when Jeff was on my line, he’s taking it strong side. I’m taking it my strong side. So when you’re always on your strong side, that helps. When we went away from that a little bit – you go through five games without even taking a forehand faceoff – and now all of a sudden you’re thrown in there and have to take a couple of them. I think just getting into a groove and playing on the road, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.”

On chemistry with Jeff Carter, and his interchangeability between center and wing:
“For us, I think it affects the puck possession. I guess, when you’re taking faceoffs on your strong side every time, you’re going to win more so than not. Over the past couple months this year and last year, minus the time that we spent apart, we’ve talked a lot about where we’re going to be on the ice and…try to get [him] at center ice. When he’s playing wing, we have to try to get him at the center of the ice with more speed. Whether this interchanges for me to go to wing – but just try to keep our speed up – I think is the biggest thing, and get him the puck in the middle of the ice is something that we obviously want to try to do as much as possible, because he has success at that.”

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