Monday, November 12, 2012

A Working Class Hero Is Something [Rebels Players Want] To Be

[ Sorry for the long delay between write ups, folks.  The news end of my particular gig has been fairly hectic over the last couple of weeks. ]

It was back to basics for the Red Deer Rebels on Monday as they hit the ice for practice at the Red Deer Arena. 

The Rebels sauntered home over the weekend after going 2-3 on their five game western road trip which (for the record) covered over 2300 kilometres.  The final 700 of those km's were no doubt the most grueling being that they came after a difficult 8-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets.

With a full week between games [next us is a Saturday night tilt at the Enmax Centrium versus Swift Current] the Rebels finally get a chance to do some real solid prep work for what will be an important stretch of games leading up to the holiday break.

So what did the captain have to say when asked about his team's "so-so" western road trip?

"We didn't do what we expected," admitted Turner Elson following Monday's spirited practice.  "We wanted three wins and two losses, but it's a tough road trip.  It's the first time for everybody [as a group] to go on that long road trip.  I still feel like we had a few games where we played really well, like the one we won against Everett Spokane.  The other ones [losses to Tri City, Portland, Kelowna] we were not intense.  We got killed by Kelowna because we weren't intense, we weren't playing the body.  It was just a rough game.  We didn't want to go 2-3 but it is what it is."

What stood out from Elson's statement is the fact he referred to a lack of intensity by his club in their three losses.  That's something he hopes a full week of practice can help them rectify.

"It gives us a chance to get that work ethic up and get us going for the next games because obviously our work ethic is not there yet and we need to get it there."

Brady Gaudet is still a relative newcomer to this Rebels team but feels the squad is capable of getting things together and creating something special.

"There's a lot of heart and soul here," Gaudet said following practice.  "That's something I've really noticed, especially on the road trip.  Guys are really vocal.  Guys are really close, it's a very close team." 

When it comes to work ethic, the head coach agrees... on both fronts.  The first being that it wasn't there during certain stretches of the road trip, the second being that it needs to be there each and every night in order for this Rebels team to succeed.

"The last game, especially, we just didn't show up mentally at all," Jesse Wallin said on Monday.  "We were there in body but had gone home a day early [mentally].

"For us, right now, it's about finding consistency and it starts with our work ethic.  When you don't show up to play, you don't compete, you don't move your feet, it's a tough game to play.  In a couple of those games we just didn't compete hard enough at all."

With that in mind, Wallin is among those looking to capitalize on the rare opportunity being presented to his club by a full week of practice.

"We played a lot of games in October, didn't have a lot of practice time, so we're really looking to take advantage of this week and tighten a few things up, get some details back in our game, and really raise the work ethic and compete level and the intensity back up to where it needs to be consistently."

A somewhat obvious question for Wallin regarding work ethic, but one still worth asking... is it frustrating to not see it from his players on a nightly basis?  His somewhat obvious, but no less poignant answer... yup.

"It's frustrating at any point in time, whether it's early or late, whenever you're not working it's a frustrating thing.  We've done it at times but, again, it's about doing it consistently doing it every day.  It starts in practice.  We had a really good day today.  I though we had a real intensity.  The guys battled hard, competed hard, there was some emotions.  If we have that in practice then it's gonna carry over into games.  We practiced the right way today and we've got to carry that through the week."

[For more on Monday's practice, which definitely was a fun one for us media folks to watch, check out Wally's write up at Rebel Rebellion]

No comments: