River City Moose Report (12-16-10)

GREEN BAY WI - JANUARY 20: (FILE PHOTO) Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after throwing a 12 yard touchdown reception during the third quarter of the NFC championship game against the New York Giants on January 20 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin. According to reports on August 3 2010 Favre will likely retire after 19 NFL seasons however no official statement has been released. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

"I consider adversity being good sometimes you know."  

-Brett Favre 

The immortal Brett Favre gave this gem of a quote in an interview with ESPN in 2004.  You know, back when he was good.  And before he retired.  Multiple times.  And while it may not be the deepest or more famous quote dealing with adversity, it's a personal favourite of mine and fits very nicely with where I want to go with this Moose blog.

First of all, I would like to apologize to all fans of the Vancouver Canucks. One week ago I get a wonderful welcome to Nucks Misconduct, and within 24 hours both Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder are hurt.  While I'm not exactly sure how I did it, it appears that their injuries are my fault.  Sorry.

Secondly, it brings us to the adversity that the Manitoba Moose have been enduring in recent weeks.  Through the first 4 games of December, the Moose had a record of 1-3-0, and had only scored 8 goals (one of them being the goal awarded for a shoot-out victory) while giving up 17 goals.  Head Coach Claude Noel was already criticizing his team's recent efforts in the media and had decided to put the team through a tough practice.  Unfortunately, during this practice last Thursday, an errant Lee Sweatt high-stick clipped Hodgson in the face during a battle drill and damaged his orbital bone.

The next evening, Schroeder injured his ankle less then 7 minutes into the game versus the Oklahoma City Barons.  And just like that, two of the best players on the team are injured during a time when the team is already struggling.  With another three games left to go on their road trip.  Yikes.

But like Mr. Favre mentioned earlier, adversity can be good sometimes.  Losing Hodgson and Schroeder will never be considered a good thing, but what it allows for is somebody else to pick up the slack and step into the roles vacated by the injured top prospects.

Despite losing 4-2 to Oklahoma City in the game where Schroeder went down, the Moose managed to earn points in their next two games by following up a 5-4 shoot-out loss to the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over the Texas Stars on Tuesday.

And without Hodgson and Schroeder to lead the way, here is a stats pack of how some of our other prospects performed over that 3-game stretch.

 

G

A

Points

+/-

Shots

PIM

B. Sweatt

1

3

4

0

7

0

V. Oreskovich

2

1

3

-1

8

0

L. Sweatt

0

2

2

3

9

0

M. Rosa

1

1

2

0

10

2

M. Bliznak

2

0

2

0

8

2

K. Connauton

1

0

1

-1

10

0

J. Perrault

0

1

1

-1

8

4

C. Tanev

0

1

1

0

0

2

S. Shirokov

1

0

1

2

5

6

An accurate look at the Moose wouldn't be complete without looking at the goaltending, and young Eddie Lack was a key component to getting the win against Texas.  Not only did he hold the fort in the 3rd period by stopping every shot as his team was out-shot 19-3, but he also added an assist in the game.  In fact, Lack stopped 39 of 40 in the victory against the Stars to pull out the much need victory.

 

Saves

Shots

SV%

GAA

E. Lack

69

74

.932

2.50

T. Weiman

33

37

.892

4.00

It looks like some of our other bright prospects, like Billy Sweatt and Victor Oreskovich, have already stepped up to the plate here.  These two, as well as Sergei Shirokov, are the main guys up front that I'm hoping can continue to shoulder the load in the interim.

So now the Moose return home for a weekend pair against the Houston Aeros this Friday and Saturday on a bit of a positive note.  I will be heading to tomorrow night's game (as I have a Christmas party on Saturday and will be, ahem, busy...) so I will get a chance to see how the Moose will deal with this adversity first-hand.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the Sweatt brothers, Shirokov, Oreskovich, Connauton, Tanev, and the rest of the kids can do when given tougher assignments.  Also, it'll be interesting to see how Bliznak, Perrault and Desbiens look following their time up with the big club.  Is there anyone that you would be interested in me focusing on specifically?

With Hodgson and Schroeder both being out of commision for the next few weeks at least, now is the time for some of our other prospects to step up.  It'll be interesting to see who can impress and who can drive up their stock on the depth chart, as we have already seen the Canucks dip into the pool and call up some players this year.  Hopefully some of the youngsters will be up to the task and help this team overcome this current bout of adversity.  That would be good, you know.

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