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More expected of Wideman

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 20, 2010 11:24 AM

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Dennis Wideman's game has taken a thumping too often this season.

While most of the veterans headed off the ice, Dennis Wideman stayed on for some extra work.

After all, he needs it.

"He's got to have a better compete level," said Claude Julien. "That's what makes him a great player. He should easily be a top-two -- three at worst -- defenseman for us. He's not close to that right now. He knows it. We know it. He's got to pick up his game."

Last season, Wideman had 13 goals and 37 assists in 79 games, recording a plus-32 rating. In 42 games this season, Wideman has three goals and 11 assists with a team-worst minus-8.

"We're almost 50 games in now," Julien said. "It's time to take charge of the situation and bring your intensity level up. If you want to play like a 5-6, maybe that's what you're going to get ice time-wise. It's pretty simple. We've got to do the right things for our hockey club. He needs to pick up his game. He knows it. He wants to. He's got to understand that his intensity and compete level have to be better."

Wideman is averaging 23:12 of ice time per game, second-most behind Zdeno Chara (24:58).

"Those habits that we're talking about have to start in practice. If you let things go by in practice as not a big deal, then why do you think they'll be corrected in a game? That's part of management," said Julien. "We've got to take some of that responsibility as coaches to get those guys to perform at that level. I'm not excluding myself from that either. It's up to me to keep pushing them. I've got to find a way to get this guy to perform, because he's too good of a player for us to watch him play that way."

  • Marco Sturm (leg) left practice early. Sturm is questionable for tomorrow.
  • Steve Begin and Byron Bitz didn't practice today, which also leaves them in the questionable category.
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