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 5-5-20 with the Flames and the
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN RUSSELL Delmore led all blueliners with 12 power-play goals.
COLOR PHOTO: JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY IMAGES/NHLI Hartley is the fifth coach to guide two teams in a season.