I just felt that everything was a lot quicker than I expected. I was still a little step back. I know it was my first game in a while, but yeah, everything was really quick and I felt like I was a step behind. - Michael Ferland
PENTICTON, BC -- He’ll tell you it wasn’t his best, but it was far from Michael Ferland’s worst.
And given that he went nine months between skates, that isn't half bad.
“I didn’t feel the way I wanted to feel,” Ferland admitted following Friday's 6-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do if I want to make this hockey club.
“I just felt that everything was a lot quicker than I expected. I was still a little step back. I know it was my first game in a while, but yeah, everything was really quick and I felt like I was a step behind.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Though he downplayed his contribution, Ferland’s body of work was impressive for a player who hasn’t skated in a competitive game since undergoing surgery on his shoulder last December.
A goal in the third period -- the game-winner, no less -- wasn’t enough for the 22-year-old to start celebrating just yet, however.
But it did help Ferland ease up on his self-critique.
“I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself,” Ferland said. “Every period, I felt better and better. Hopefully [Saturday] I just feel even better.”
Adirondack Flames coach Ryan Huska felt it was a good showing, too.
“I thought Michael was good,” said Huska, who is manning the bench for the Flames in the tournament. “I thought he was involved physically, and the nice part of his game is he has a little bit of offensive ability to back up the physical side of his game, so I thought he was a presence on the ice.”
Ferland finished Friday’s win with a goal, an assist, four shots and a minor for roughing -- in all, a typical game for the former fifth round pick (No. 133) in 2010.
But, Ferland retreated, far from satisfying.
“I was trying to play the body,” he said. “I got a few licks on guys. That too, I felt a little late and a little slow. I’ve got a couple games left here and I just want to keep getting ready for camp.
“If I want to make this team, I know I’ve got to be a lot better than I played but at the same time, I know I haven’t played in a long time. I just know I have some work to do.”