Dec 17, 2013, 11:18 AM EDT
Lindy Ruff took one for the team on Monday.
Following an ugly 6-2 loss in Colorado, Ruff deflected criticism of his young, inexperienced defense by saying he needed to do a better job of preparing them.
“Our defense were a step slow — they were a step slow on the coverage,” Ruff said postgame. “I’m going to work with them. They’ve got to play in big situations against big players and they’ve got to make those plays for us.
“It really falls on my shoulders to get them there. Because they’re the guys that are going to have to play.”
Without injured veterans Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas, Dallas leaned heavily on the likes of Jamie Oleksiak (20 years old) and Kevin Connauton (23), more so after another veteran — Aaron Rome — was lost to injury after playing just 2:36 in the opening period.
Things blew up in the second period, as Colorado scored four times in an 11-minute span to put the game out of reach. All four goals came at even strength with Oleksiak on for one and Connauton on for two.
In protecting his youngsters, Ruff re-iterated that it’s on the coach to get them ready for the speed and pace of the NHL.
“We got some young defense that are playing in some bigger places,” he explained. “I’ve got to get them in a better spot.”
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 9
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 10
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 20
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 21
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 72
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 27
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 29
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 17
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 66
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick (73)