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Rebels get back to work

The Red Deer Rebels were back at work Sunday, but without their sticks.

The Rebels were on the Centrium ice, skating, skating . . .

“We had a tough practice today, but we have to get our work ethic back to where it needs to be,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter, without using the term ‘bagskate’.

“If we want to get back into the win column, we have to earn wins. You have to earn what you get and right now we’re not earning anything.”

Indeed, the Rebels have squandered the large majority of a seven-game homestand that concludes Wednesday versus the Kootenay Ice. In fact, since opening the season with three wins, Red Deer has gone 3-8-0-0 to this point and is mired in a four-game losing streak.

“We’ve done a lot of video work with the players,” said Sutter, whose club made it four setbacks in succession with Friday’s 4-3 home-ice loss to the rebuilding Saskatoon Blades, a club that is currently flourishing because of solid work habits.

“We’ve made too many soft plays, we have to be harder on things and our overall game just needs to be better. We need to be sharper and more aware on the ice.”

Sutter was hoping his club would respond following a series of strong practice sessions last week. But then, the same mistakes resurfaced in Friday’s game.

“It’s a little bit of an attitude thing we have that we have to change,” said the Rebels bench boss, who is running out of patience. “We have to understand what we are as a team and understand the way we have to play within the identity of our team. We have to be a hard-working, team-orientated, structured team. Those are all big things.”

On a positive note, netminder Patrik Bartosak did not suffer a concussion — as originally feared — when we was run over by Blades forward Collin Valcourt Friday night.

“We thought he had a concussion, but all of the tests came back negative,” said Sutter.

Bartosak, however, is questionable for Wednesday’s outing, although he should be able to accompany the team on a six-game road trip that starts Friday in Victoria.

With Bartosak’s status for Wednesday up in the air, Sutter will bring in Rylan Toth from the North Battleford midget AAA team to serve as back-up to Taz Burman.

The Rebels open their road trip with back to back games versus the Victoria Royals Friday and Saturday, then move on to Kamloops for a Nov. 5 meeting with the Blazers.

From there, the Rebels will meet the Kelowna Rockets Nov. 6 and will take on Kootenay and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Nov. 8 and 9. Red Deer’s next home game following the trip is Nov. 15 against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

l The Rebels could know as early as this week if defenceman Mathew Dumba will be returning from the Minnesota Wild. Dumba has played eight games with Minnesota — and has two points with a goal and an assist — and if he plays tonight versus the Chicago Blackhawks and Friday against the Montreal Canadiens, the first year of his three-year entry level contract will kick in.

 
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