In what could be construed as an attempt to shake up a struggling lineup, Daniels had a few new looks on his lines for Tuesday’s practice.
A.J. Jenks, fresh off a two-game conditioning stint with ECHL Florida, went from being surplus to requirements in all but six of the Checkers’ 21 games to centering arguably the team’s top line between Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe. Meanwhile, Chris Terry, pointless in four games, was on the fourth line with Sean Dolan and Nicolas Blanchard.
Daniels didn’t commit to those changes carrying over to Thursday’s game, but did imply that he hoped to give Jenks more of an opportunity going forward.
“We’re just looking at different things,” he said. “The whole point with (sending Jenks down) was to get him in game shape and get him confident, and he played really well in those two games.”
“It’s so tough to get into a groove when you come to the rink each day not knowing what to expect,” said Jenks. “The biggest thing was to get some confidence. (The ECHL) is a good league, but you definitely have more time and space to make plays.”
Jenks said that he got plenty of ice time with the Everblades, part of which came naturally due to ECHL teams only using 10 forwards compared to the standard 12 used in the AHL and NHL. He did not record a point, but would be in a prime position to do so between arguably the Checkers’ two most consistent forwards in Boychuk and Dalpe.
“I didn’t expect (to be in that position), but I’m not surprised either,” he said. “I know the coaches have confidence in everyone that’s here.”
That’s part of why having to sit out so many games this year after being an everyday player since joining the team last January didn’t faze him too much.
“It’s a tough year with the lockout where we’ve got a bunch of guys that would have a good chance of cracking the NHL,” he said. “I’m not ashamed that I haven’t played as much as I would have liked, because we’ve got a hell of a team.”