Hi all. So the two games over the weekend were like night and day. On Saturday, we defeated Carolina, we came out and got off to a good start early and I think from there we really took off. On Sunday against the Rangers, I think they kind of got on top of us early and got an early goal and some momentum. I think with us being a young team, it's something you work on gradually. The guys aren't used to playing with each other and going through that kind of battle, but I think we handled it pretty well.
I think we battled all the way to the end and (Matt) Fraser had another big night with another goal and he's playing a phenomenal tournament. All the guys really battled the entire game and, obviously, it's not the result we wanted but all we can do is look at the positives and work on what we need to for the next game.
The Rangers came at us really fast (on Sunday) and I think we gave them a lot of help there in the beginning and (goalie) Jack Campbell
was a little overwhelmed with all the odd-man rushes. After a little bit, I think we got it together defensively and Jack finished off a great game. Obviously, Jack's a proven goalie and it's just a matter of giving him the help defensively and really stepping up to help him out. It was a tough game, but we finished hard and I'm proud of all the boys for how they battled and never gave up.
The difference between this rookie tournament and college is that the players are a little bit bigger and stronger and they are more consistent … it's a high pace. In college, the game was up and down and it sometimes slows down a bit. It's a great pace and definitely great for conditioning and getting. Really, you just have to be on your toes and really moving.
I think eight or nine guys will be practicing on Monday. We'll probably play some mini-putt, which seems to be the popular thing around here. Also go-carting is big, and a lot of boys are pretty good at it.
It's a great group of guys. Campbell, who plays for Team USA, was angry that I left Team USA for Team Canada, but he's been good about it. Once in a while, we'll chirp back and forth about it. He's a good kid and he leaves it on the ice so everyone is definitely nice to hang out with.
The day off will be huge because it's not very often you get back-to-back morning practices and games both nights. So we'll take a day off, take a day to recoup, see Traverse City a little bit because it looks like a beautiful city. We'll have the opportunity to roam around a little bit and pause and look back at these games and figure out what we need to work on as a team and hopefully come out flying on Tuesday (against St. Louis).