Zach Bogosian is quick to recognize the value of having Charlie Huddy around to pass along helpful hints as he continues to work on his craft as an emerging NHL defenceman.
After clashing with Atlanta Thrashers assistant John Torchetti at times last season, Bogosian has clicked with Huddy, the longtime NHL blue-liner and assistant coach.
ďIf you take hockey out of it, (Huddy) is a nice person and he cares about you, thatís the biggest thing for me,Ē Bogosian said earlier this week.
ďHeís easy to communicate with, heís calm. We go over a lot of video and usually itís all positive stuff. There are times when he tells me certain things I have to work on, but itís in a good way. Itís not in a bad, degrading manner or anything like that.
ďItís a good relationship that I have with him. He just tries to bring the best out of me. I get up for every game and I donít need anyone to motivate me, I donít need someone in my face yelling and Charlie has been great with that. The best thing about him is if things are going bad, he stays calm the whole time. As a defenceman, if you get yelled and screamed at, it hurts your confidence a little bit. Iíve dealt with a lot of things my first three years that will help me out further in my career.Ē
What aspect of his game has Bogosian seen the biggest improvement in as a member of the Winnipeg Jets?
ďIíve been working hard in the D-zone and seeing a lot of things I wasnít seeing in previous years and making that good first pass. The game is slowing down a bit,Ē said Bogosian, who was the third overall pick by the Thrashers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and made the club as an 18-year-old. ďWhen I first got into the league, I was flying off of raw talent and I didnít have to think too much.Ē
Bogosian, 20, has been playing with Mark Stuart for all but two games this season and the duo has essentially served as the Jets shutdown pairing.
ďItís a challenge every night, but I enjoy it and itís been good with Mark, I know where heís going to be all the time and I know what heís going to bring every night ó heís a high-energy guy and so am I,Ē said Bogosian, who has four assists in 15 games this season.
ďOffence isnít what I just want to be known for. I want to be known as an all-around defenceman.Ē
For his part, Huddy sees the growth in Bogosianís game and a genuine drive to improve.
ďHeís done a good job and itís not an easy job for a young defenceman to kill penalties against the skill in the league,Ē said Huddy. ďItís all about me showing confidence in him and allowing him to go out in certain situations. The skating part for him is not an issue, the offensive part is not an issue. Heís got a great shot. Itís just the defensive part of the game that needs to continue to get better. Heís big and strong and heís able to finish checks hard, that will make the opposition think twice about coming around the net or holding onto the puck that extra second. Iíve also talked to him about body positioning and using his stick a little bit better.
ďWhen youíve got the skating ability that he has, thereís speed there and heís just real strong and powerful. You never want to take that away from guys, but you need to know when to jump up in the rush and when not to do it. And heís figuring that out.Ē
JET FUEL: The Jets placed forward Ben Maxwell, who had no points in four games this season, on waivers Wednesday.