Hard-shooting defenseman Andy Delmore gives the Predators an even bigger advantage on the power play
There are specialists, and then there's Predators defenseman Andy Delmore. Because his primary gifts are speed and a hard, quick righthanded shot, he has become one of the most potent power-play weapons in the league. Through Sunday, Delmore was second in the NHL with 12 man-advantage goals (no other defenseman had more than seven), had averaged a league-high 7:17 on the power play per game and had played 41.4% of his total minutes with the man advantage, also an NHL high. "We're a bit challenged on offense so we need Andy," says coach Barry Trotz. "He's the triggerman on the back end."
On the power play, Delmore works between the left point and the left face-off circle. Because penalty-killing forwards often defend him by expanding the box to contest his shot, Delmore has been instructed to avoid having his shots blocked (which can lead to odd-man rushes) either by dishing to an open man or using his speed to generate an alternative shooting lane.
Delmore made a splash with the Flyers during the 2000 playoffs when he became the first rookie defenseman to score a postseason hat trick. But he was plagued by inconsistent defensive positioning and in his second season was frequently left on the bench. Then, in July 2001, he was traded to Nashville.
"It was a positive move for us and Andy," Trotz says of the deal. "We improved our power play, and Andy got a fresh start.
Being a regular in the lineup helps his confidence and helps him develop as a player."
More Coaches Fired
Little Time Between Jobs
It has been a rough season for coaches—when the Canadiens fired Michel Therrien last Friday he became the sixth bench boss to get axed since training camp—but two of the ousted ones have quickly been recycled to other teams. Darryl Sutter, who was canned on Dec. 1 by the Sharks, was hired four weeks later by the Flames, and Bob Hartley, sacked on Dec. 18 by the Avalanche, took just a month before hooking on with the Thrashers. Sutter and Hartley are only the fourth and fifth coaches in NHL history to guide two clubs in the same season. The first three coaches to do so, Fred Glover (California Golden Seals and Kings in 1971-72), Roger Neilson (Canucks and Kings in '83-84) and Ted Sator (Rangers and Sabres in '86-87), were not successful with their second clubs, combining for a 47-81-15 record. And Sutter and Hartley? Through Sunday they had a combined mark of 5-5-2-0 with the Flames and the Thrashers.