by Patrick Hoffman on 11/28/10 at 07:57 PM ET
After scoring a hat trick in the New York Rangers’ first game of the season, rookie Derek Stepan went quiet.
It was not from a lack of effort or anything like that. Instead, it was due to bad luck, being bounced around from line to line, and ultimately, may be getting into his own head a bit.
However, it appears that Stepan has turned it around in a big way and now finds himself three points behind rookie scoring leader Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes) with 14 points (six goals and eight assists).
Stepan is working hard, crashing for net in rebounds, putting pucks on the net and doing everything that a professional hockey player should be doing to be successful. However, as is the case with every rookie, it will be up to him to keep up the same consistency on a game-to-game basis.
Ryan Porth over at RLD Hockey, conducted a great interview with Stepan prior to last night’s game with the Predators and Stepan had some interesting things to say.
RLD: You got a hat trick in your first game, went cold for a little bit, but have picked up a lot of points lately… do you feel like you’re settling in now?
Derek Stepan: Yeah, for sure. I’m getting more and more comfortable. I think it took me three or four games after the hat trick game to kind of find it, but I’m getting more comfortable and it’s been going well for me.
RLD: Is the game slowing down for you?
DS: I don’t think it’s slowing down, but I’m thinking quicker and making my reads easier.
For any rookie in the National Hockey League, it’s important to be comfortable wherever they are playing and right now, Stepan is playing that way.
Hopefully, head coach John Tortorella realizes that and continues to give Stepan important minutes as the season goes on.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.