In the what have you done for me lately world of the NHL, playing 41 games and scoring 10 goals as a rookie really doesn't mean much. At least that's the way Calgary Flames sophomore forward David Moss sees it.
He's back to prove himself all over again.
"It's the start of another season. It is always exciting to get playing again, especially playing games," said Moss. "I am looking to prove myself again this year and show that I belong here."
That road began in earnest Sunday when Moss dressed for the Flames first pre-season game at the Pengrowth Saddledome against the visiting Florida Panthers.
Moss, 26, is entering his third season as a pro after spending four seasons at the University of Michigan, his home state. After playing 28 games for the Flames op affiliate last season, the Flames came calling and Moss, by most accounts, responded. He had those 10 goals, added eight assists and was a guy that could be counted on for going to the net. The performance would seem to have guaranteed a spot on the roster for Moss. But he disagrees, refusing to believe that anything is etched in stone.
"I do think I have to prove myself. There is a new coach. I have to do all the things I did last year. I have to play hard, play the body and try to get to the net to score some goals," said Moss.
Moss played Sunday alongside Dustin Boyd, his line mate in the AHL last season, and Brett Sutter. They were the Kid Line for the Flames as management and coaches look at the young players on the team early
Playing half a season at the NHL pace and then playing in the playoffs against Detroit (Moss hails from Livonia, about 30 minutes from Detroit) has certainly helped Moss in the confidence department.
"Hopefully I am playing with a little more confidence. That experience I got last year can only help me," said Moss.
The summer workout routine, as prescribed by Flames strength and conditioning coach Rich Hesketh, didn't change much for Moss. However, he took a two-week period and went to Russia to skate and workout with an elite league team in St. Petersburg, a club coached by former NHL coach Barry Smith. "The on-ice training part was great," said Moss, whose trip was arranged through his agent. "The culture is different. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city. It's old. It's different there but the people were friendly and overall it was a pretty good experience.
"On the ice the players are all fast and skilled. There is not as much physical play as over here. Skill-wise the players are some of the best that you will see."
Living so close to Detroit wasn't the easiest thing for Moss to handle after the Flames lost in six games in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. "When I first got back there everyone was asking how it felt to lose to the Wings. It didn't feel good and we are looking to make a better push this season."
Indeed Moss echoes the sentiments of many of the Flames returning from last season.
"The bitterness of losing in the first round stuck with me all summer. It is never fun to lose, especially in the first round," said Moss, who had one assist in those six playoff games.
Moss said the exhibition season is a chance to prove yourself and to find those game legs.
"Guys are trying to prove themselves. Veterans are trying to get their legs and get into game shape. These are games where you are working hard and trying to do all the little things right," said Moss.