Oct. 4 Practice ReportBy: Mitch Peacock | Published: October 4th 2018
The Manitoba Moose held their last practice of the pre-season this morning at Bell MTS Icplex before flying to Des Moines, Iowa ahead of Friday night’s regular season opener versus the Wild.
It was the second consecutive day of practice for the club as a single group, and once again time was devoted to reinforcing systems and getting special teams’ reps.
With just two days of “team-type” practices it’s easy to wonder if the Moose have had enough time to get set for the Wild. With the vast majority of the roster spending an extended amount of time in Jets’ camp – including many involved in NHL exhibition games – there’s a confidence the group is on track.
“Whatever they hear with the Jets is going to be the same with the Moose. So every teaching, or video sessions, that they have (or) would have had with the Jets – it’s going to be carried over so we can move a little faster in that way because we’re in sync,” said Head Coach Pascal Vincent after the morning workout. “The Jets and the Moose, we talk the same language and teach the same systems.”
JC Lipon and Cameron Schilling are the most veteran pros returning to the Moose with newcomers Seth Griffith, Dennis Everberg, Tye McGinn, and Felix Girard rounding out the team’s most senior skaters in terms of professional games played.
Lipon, like Schilling, helped the Moose to the Central Division Final last season and feels it’s important to play with the right energy from game one of the new season.
“You’ve gotta bring that (playoff) intensity right from the start in this league. Every team is good and pretty much any team who shows up is going to win on that night – you gotta be ready to play every night.”
And while JC is part of a leadership group looking to set the tone, he’s not alone in being eager to compete for points in the standings.
“I think everyone’s just excited to get on the road and see what we can do on the ice together,” said the winger who scored 17 goals last season. “We’ve been working hard and it’ll be exciting to see what happens.”
Pascal Vincent told the assembled media Eric Comrie is the team’s number one goalie and has earned a chance to carry the load after working alongside Connor Hellebuyck, Ondrej Pavelec, and Michael Hutchinson the last three years.
Vincent also indicated Nic Kerdiles, who skated with the group again today, will not be in uniform for the opener as he continues to work back from a training camp injury that cost him nearly two weeks.
It’s almost here, game one of 76. The next chapter in Manitoba Moose history will be written and the club intends to have player development and winning games be the main storylines.
To the coach for the final word, and some perspective on facing Iowa Friday.
“I liked our camp, now the results that will be received tomorrow night is not going to change my mind. Whether we win 10-nothing or lose 10-nothing we’ve had a good camp. We’ve managed to show everything we wanted to show and we wanted to input some new stuff and we did that.”