BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Having given up 44 or more shots in two of the past three games, Condors coach Matt O'Dette was looking to shore up his defense.
Enter Trevor Hendrikx.
Hendrikx, a veteran defenseman, was waived by the San Francisco Bulls on Tuesday and claimed by the Condors on Wednesday. O'Dette said Hendrikx will arrive in Bakersfield today and play against the Thunder in Stockton on Friday.
"He'll get a morning skate with us (on Friday) then we'll throw him right into the fire," O'Dette said.
Hendrikx (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) has played with 10 teams at the minor league level over the course of six-plus seasons. He had one assist in eight games with the Bulls.
"It's one of the pieces of the puzzle," O'Dette said of tweaks he's trying to make to his team, which is 3-4-1. "We want to get tougher and he helps there, although we still want more toughness. We want to get better defensively, and he accomplishes that; and we want more experience, and he accomplished that."
Hendrikx was one of five veterans in San Francisco (ECHL teams can only have four on the active roster). He will become the first veteran in Bakersfield.
"We needed to stabilize our defensive corps. We all know how important it is to have a solid group of defensemen ... we'd like our goaltenders to face less shots.
"He's a physical defenseman who is tough to play against."
The addition will leave the Condors with nine defensemen on the roster, but O'Dette said he had one roster spot still open.
"We don't have to (make any moves) right now," he said. "Everything fits right now. We'll wait a couple of days to decide our next move."
While Hendrikx should help out defensively, O'Dette pointed out that the forwards were a big part of the troubled defensive zone coverage.
"Our D aren't great right now but our forwards are more of the problem," he said. "Identifying who's the low forward, covering their point, getting pucks out on the half wall when they need to get out -- we're not doing those things. That needs to get better.
"If you don't get pucks out and you turn them over in your own end, that's when you get stuck in there and the result is usually a puck in your net or a penalty."
O'Dette has addressed those issues in long practice sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.