Associate coach Jeff Truitt had a definite plan of attack while running the Red Deer Rebels practice session Tuesday at the Kinex.
“The theme today was defensive zone coverage and the details within that while coming back into our own zone,” said Truitt. “We spent a lot of time yesterday on video, looking at some of the things we need to be little more consistent on, but right now it’s the time of the season where details are huge.
“We have to get back to details and the structure of our game. That gives us the best chance to win so we had to work hard at it today.”
With the Rebels having lost two successive winnable contests following last Thursday’s 4-1 triumph over the defending Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings at the Centrium, Truitt wasn’t taking it easy on the players Tuesday. Included in the physical aspect of the practice was the reminder that there are no easy games in the WHL, that the effort put forth in Saturday’s pitiful 3-1 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars, in particular, was totally inexcusable.
“It’s not the end result that matters right now, it’s kind of the how-to,” said Truitt. “How we prepare and play and execute within our game structure is most important.
“We can’t worry about the ultimate prize at the end of the tunnel; we have to focus on what we have to do period by period here and get back to the details.”
l Rebels defenceman Mathew Dumba was a healthy scratch for a third succession NHL game Tuesday. Dumba was in the press box as the extra blueliner as his club, the Minnesota Wild, entertained the Nashville Predators.
While Dumba, the Wild’s first-round pick — seventh overall — in last year’s NHL entry draft, would seemingly be better off back in Red Deer preparing for home games Friday and Saturday versus the Brandon Wheat Kings and Lethbridge Hurricanes, Wild head coach Mike Yeo told Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune that Dumba is gaining valuable experience just being with the big team.
“Even though he hasn’t played a game, he’s participating in practices, he’s participating in warmup,” Yeo said. “For a guy like that to be around NHL players and not only have the chance to skate and practise with them, but to also see how they prepare and how they conduct themselves, it’s been very valuable to him.”
Regardless, with defenceman Jonas Brodin nearly ready to return to the Minnesota roster and Marco Scandella also close to coming back from an injury, Dumba will likely be returned to Red Deer soon.
Or as Russo noted, the 18-year-old might accompany the Wild on a road trip for games Friday and Sunday in Detroit and St. Louis.
l Prince George general manager Dallas Thompson fired head coach Dean Clark Tuesday and is expected to announce the hiring of a new bench boss today.
Assistant coach Jason Becker is expected to guide the team during tonight’s home game against the Prince Albert Raiders.