Originally written on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 11/19/14
By Bob Crawford The stat sheet from Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Springfield was one that the Connecticut Whale coaches probably wanted to burn and never look at again, but there was one positive on the Whale side. That was next to the name of defenseman Sam Klassen, who was +1 in the game, the only player on the Whale team who ended the night on the plus side. It wasn’t like Klassen was nailed to the bench, either.  He played a regular shift, and was not on the ice for any of the Falcons’ 10 goals. The second-year pro did not take any solace from that stat, though. “I’m not going to comment much on that,” Klassen said Thursday after the Whale’s practice at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT.  “It was a team loss, and we’ve got to respond from Sunday night.” And how do the Whale, as a group, go about responding to that ugly defeat, with a rematch against the Falcons looming Friday night in Springfield? “You learn from that game,” Klassen said, “and you take that feeling, that embarrassing feeling, from Sunday night’s game and you bring it into the week of practices, and you work that much harder and make sure that doesn’t happen again. “We definitely focused on our systems, D-zone (defensive zone) systems and neutral-zone systems, and just kind of went to the board and did some X’s and O’s, stuff like that, for sure, but what it really comes down to is a matter of making things happen in a game.  We hopefully can take these good practices that we had this week and carry them right into the weekend.” While the Whale had won four straight games going into Sunday, some danger signs had been evident in the two games immediately preceding the 10-2 meltdown.  In Friday’s 2-1 shootout win in Albany, Connecticut had been outshot 44-16 and needed a great performance in goal from Cam Talbot to get the two points, and in a 6-3 home victory the previous Saturday against Providence, the Whale were outshot by a margin of 40-23. “Friday night’s game, we were lucky to get those two points,” said Klassen.  “Cam played amazing for us, and he definitely stole the game for us.  And some of those bad habits probably carried into Sunday’s game, and it came back to bite us in the butt there.” On the other hand, just about all of the bounces that had been going the Whale’s way in the previous two games went against them on Sunday.  The Whale’s goal going into this weekend is not to leave so much up to the bounce of the puck. “Going into Friday night’s game, we obviously want to be physical,” Klassen said.  “They’ve (Springfield) got some real skilled forwards up front, so the more you can by physical, the better. “We did a lot of D-zone coverage this week, just focusing on making that first good pass and keeping things simple.  The more simple they are, the easier it is.” That last sentence seems to sum up Klassen’s approach to the game quite well.  He is a no-frills kind of player, the type of defenseman who you know is playing well when you don’t notice him.  In order to progress, though, beyond where he has been his first two pro seasons, in which he has been back and forth between the Whale and the ECHL, Klassen is seeking to diversify his game somewhat.  “Something that I’m always working on is my shot,” he said.  “Since I’m not a very offensive D-man, it’s something I’m always trying to improve, trying to jump up in the play a little more, try to get involved off the rush once in a while.  But I know my strengths and my weaknesses, so you always try to improve on your weaknesses and stick to your strengths in a game.” As he looks to do that, Klassen has taken advantage of the tutelage of two different Whale assistant coaches, J.J. Daigneault and Jeff Beukeboom, who were both highly successful defensemen as pro players.  Beukeboom is new to the Whale this year, after Daigneault earned an assistant-coaching job with the Montreal Canadiens this past summer, and Beukeboom has shown an approach that is slightly different, but just as helpful for Klassen’s development. “J.J.’s approach was very offensive,” Klassen said.  “Jeff maybe not so much, but he’s always encouraging us to jump up in the play and get involved, pinching on the O-zone and getting involved in the play.  So that’s always something that we’re trying to do.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marc Trestman: Benching Jay Cutler could revive QB's career

Rob Gronkowski jokes about Tom Brady saying he's grown up

Rajon Rondo reportedly traded to Mavericks

Washington Post has perfect description for Titans-Jaguars

Wilbon angry at DC for not supporting Wizards

Urban Meyer on Tim Tebow: 'He wants another shot at playing'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Harbaugh turned down Michigan money in 2011

Why the Saints pose a legit threat to any playoff team

Matt Kemp reportedly has arthritis in both hips

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

Youngstown St. addresses Bo Pelini's profanity-laced rant

It's been almost 40 years since NFL's last untelevised game

The NHL has finally fined a player for diving

Ben Roethlisberger: Le’Veon Bell is having an MVP season

Jim Harbaugh comments on the reported offer from Michigan

Michael Jordan's college Converse shoes sell for $33,387

Week 16 NFL game watchability rankings

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

Tom Brady's TD celebrations frighten teammates

The impact of normalized U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins, other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.