By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
February 13, 2004
Early in the season, head coach Brian Curran didn’t know what to make of his Columbus Cottonmouths.
Teams usually discover their true identity in games, but the Cottonmouths were in a deep scoring slump, and couldn’t shake their way out until one workout made a significant difference.
“It’s hard to describe where it changed for us,” Curran said. “We were working on a 3-on-2 drill in practice and I didn’t think we were being creative enough. All of a sudden, they all saw the creativity. They started filling the lanes, making smarter decisions and picking up their defensive zone coverage. The last two months, we’ve been on a good roll.”
Columbus enters the weekend with a 26-20-3 record, with 55 points good for fourth place in the Central Division, and has won seven of its last 10 games.The Cottonmouths have affiliations with both the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers, giving Curran a host of inexperienced players to work with.
“We’ve got young players with habits that need to be broken,” Curran said. “We had a 12-game winless streak earlier in the season and we probably should have won seven of those games.”