Officially, on the lineup sheet, Derek Stepan is listed as a center. But everybody knows better, at least for now. He will be the left wing on the top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.
Stepan said he played wing in college for 10 to 15 games. He also said it is helpful to skate with such elite linemates.
“I think my job is to get them the puck,” Stepan said after the morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. “When it comes time for me to have the puck, I’ll try to make plays and play my game. I’ll just try to fit in.
“They’re both obviously highly skilled. They both can make plays that other guys can’t make. They’re the guys we look to, to create offense.”
In general, Stepan isn’t looking to make too much out of this as Opening Night, Part II. “I don’t really want to put it on something like that. We’ve been traveling a lot, but we’ve had a good week of practice. I don’t think we can put it in a sense of another opener. We still want to play 60 minutes of hard hockey,” he said. Then again, he did add, “They’ve got a good hockey club, but we’ve got to come out and build our identity and come out with our team toughness. We know how we can play, how we played last year. That can be blocking shots or taking a hit to make a play. That’s something to start building on right now.