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Bennett Lends Hand to Phantoms

Tuesday, 10.30.2012 / 9:26 AM / St Louis Blues - News
By Bart Logan  - Youngstown Phantoms
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Bennett Lends Hand to Phantoms
Blues Assistant Coach Ray Bennett lent a hand to the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL recently.


During practice this week, Youngstown Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen was looking for a way to snap his team out of its five-game lull. So, he reached out to someone who knows a thing or two about what it takes to win at the highest level – St. Louis Blues assistant coach Ray Bennett.

Bennett, whose son Kale Bennett is a first-year defenseman for the Phantoms, has more than a decade of experience behind NHL benches with St. Louis and the Los Angeles Kings. Last season he helped the Blues rebound from a 6-7-0 start to second-place finish in the NHL’s Western Conference.

Under normal circumstances, Bennett would be preoccupied with his own players, but with the NHL lockout in its sixth week, he was able to pay a visit to the Phantoms (4-5-0, 8 points) ahead of their Friday faceoff with the USHL Western Conference-leading Lincoln Stars (6-0-0, 12 points) at the Covelli Centre.

“Ray’s been in for a number of games, but it was the first time we really utilized him as a resource [in practice],” Noreen said. “He was very gracious in doing it and we were very grateful for that.”

Bennett joined the Phantoms on the ice for practice last Wednesday at the Covelli Centre, lending a hand with drills and working with Noreen and the coaching staff. Prior to taking the ice, however, he spoke to the team in the locker room.

The subject? What it takes to be a pro.

“He said, ‘There are a lot of guys that have made a lot of money playing the game for a long time that aren’t pros, and there are a lot of guys that maybe haven’t got the glitz and glamour, but they’re pros because of how they act and approach the game,’” Noreen said. “The things he said hold true whether you’re playing in the NHL or mite hockey, or anything in between.”

Bennett’s message certainly resonated with assistant captain J.T. Stenglein. The third-year winger said that, given the team’s recent struggles, it could provide a boost when they take the ice Friday night.

“It was good to kind of see his perspective on things and get his words of wisdom, especially when we’re going through a tougher time,” Stenglein said. “It was definitely good to get him out here and motivate everybody to work a lot harder knowing you’ve got NHL eyes on you.”

The goal, Stenglein said, would be to ensure he and his teammates take Bennett’s advice to heart, not just during the game Friday, but also during practice and during off-ice preparation.

Noreen echoed Stenglein’s message, but had another takeaway from his time with Bennett. Staring down the longest losing streak of his two-year USHL coaching career and dealing with injuries to key veterans players on one of the league’s youngest teams, he said took solace learning he was not alone in facing adversity.

“Sometimes it’s just nice to know that guys at the next level are questioning and going through the same problems you’re going through,” Noreen said. “The concepts that you’re trying to implement – that you’re banging your head against the wall trying to get guys to do – are the same things they struggle with. And, it’s nice to know that with a lot of the stuff, you’re on the same path.

“You don’t get to the NHL level and stick as long as Ray has without doing something pretty well.”

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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