Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 11/8/12
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.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd carted off practice field

Report: Bills and Tyrod Taylor continue to talk extension

Report: Title contender planning to poach Curry from Warriors

Fitzpatrick on negotiations: I wouldn’t wish it on anybody

NBA players to fund health insurance for former players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Geno Smith 'intent' on beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Jack Nicklaus puzzled by Tiger Woods' woes, golf absence

Brown responds to Marshall's high-stakes challenge

Seven most mind-boggling NFL contracts of 2016

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. the Red Sox’s MVP?

Did Joey Votto reject kid who asked for his batting gloves?

Rams got it right releasing Nick Foles, trusting Jared Goff

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker