The way Patrick Wiercioch sees it, his current position as a healthy scratch on the Ottawa Senators blueline is all about a number’s game.
As in the number of games he has played in the NHL.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Senators coach Paul MacLean had a heart-to-heart talk with Wiercioch and Eric Gryba, telling them they could be rotated in and out of the lineup in order to give veteran Joe Corvo regular duty.
Accordingly, Wiercioch didn’t play in the 6-1 win over Detroit and stayed out of the lineup Friday against Anaheim.
Corvo played his 688th career NHL game Friday versus the Anaheim Ducks. Wiercioch has played in 58 big league games, while Gryba played in his 40th Friday.
“You want to be in the lineup, you want to help contribute to the success, but probably having some more experience back there helped us out (against Detroit),” said Wiercioch, who spent the first eight games of the season with Jared Cowen as his defence partner.
“(MacLean) was honest about it, he told both of us to our face that what was going on, that there was no second guessing about what their reasoning was.”
Wiercioch is reasonably satisfied with his offensive production — he has five assists in eight games — but after the club’s mediocre start to the season, he recognized that there were no guarantees the Senators would be sticking with the status quo. MacLean has asked the 6-5, 210-pound Wiercioch to be more physical.
“As a team, we probably were not where we needed to be,” he said. “We want to get wins and we want to succeed and sometimes, he’s got to shake things up.”
Gryba, who missed most of training camp due to an injury, started slowly, but began to feel more comfortable, beginning with the Senators’ 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils Oct. 17.
“Every day, the league gets faster and faster and it’s not an easy process to catch up,” said Gryba, who scored the opening goal against Detroit.
METHOT EYEING CHANGE
Senators defencemen Marc Methot is seriously contemplating wearing a visor after a close call Wednesday against Detroit. A stray puck off the stick of Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk came within centimetres of his left eye, resulting in stitches and an ugly welt. Methot knows the damage could have been much worse.
“I’ve considered putting a visor on for a couple of years, because every time I see an accident or an injury occur, a serious injury, it makes me cringe,” he said. “I’m sensitive to that. Anything around the face is usually pretty serious. I would like to make the transition (to a visor). I’m trying, but it’s not easy. But I’m not going to lie.”
Jakob Silfverberg says it felt “a little bit awkward” being in the visiting dressing room at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Silfverberg was the key player for Anaheim — the Ducks also received prospect Stefan Noesen and a first-round draft pick — in the summer trade for Bobby Ryan.
“I didn’t see it coming,” he acknowledges. “When we had our final meetings (after the 2012-13 season), I didn’t have any idea. Of course, I was a bit surprised.”
When it did occur, he admits to wondering if he could have done anything different.
“If you’re traded, you always wonder why you get traded, but looking back to my previous season, I think I played well. I can’t say I’m disappointed in myself or anything like that.”
It didn’t take long for Silfverberg, a Swede, to discover that movement is a big part of the NHL world.
“It’s the business over here,” he said. “People move and people come.”