In November alone, Wolves forward Nicolas Roy has shown up on the transactions wire eight times. Perhaps some of those moves were paper transactions to help the Golden Knights’ cap situation, but Roy’s still had his share of trips between Chicago and Las Vegas.
“A lot of travel, but it’s part of the game to be a pro,” Roy said. “You have to adjust fast and try to help both teams win.”
Roy isn’t the only Wolves player who’s been on the treadmill. Goalie Garret Sparks and defenseman Jake Bischoff are two of the players who have gone back and forth, trying to get used to different teammates and levels of play.
Like Roy, Bischoff keeps things in perspective. He was sent down Sept. 30, called up Oct. 11 and sent back to the Wolves on Oct. 28 and has stayed since.
“For me, it’s not too tough,” Bischoff said. “We’re so lucky to play this sport for a living right now. Whether it’s playing here or playing there, you know you’re fortunate to be able to do this. You’ve got to look at it that way.”
There are some things the teams do to make the process easier for players.
The most obvious way the transition is made easier is that both teams use the same system. That prepares players for the NHL but also means they aren’t adjusting to something completely foreign whenever they change levels.
“We do run the same system so that kind of stuff is easy for them, it’s just getting comfortable with teammates and linemates,” Wolves coach Rocky Thompson said. “At the end of the day that does take some time. Our philosophies are the same. Come to work, work as hard as you can every day, try to get better every single day and compete in every drill and in every shift that you have. Then everything else takes care of itself. That’s what we preach.”
Thompson also touts the support system players have in the Wolves’ dressing room. There is always a veteran player who can relate to what a teammate is going through.
“I don’t even have to encourage (them to talk to teammates) because we have good character people,” Thompson said. “Our guys are great in the room.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Thompson and the Wolves don’t wait to use players just back from Vegas. Roy was sent to the Wolves on Nov. 17, and two days later he was on their top line and skated on the power-play, scoring twice in the first period.
“Of course it’s tough, just play my game,” Roy said. “Play hard. We’re hockey players, so it’s always the same game. That’s what makes it easy.”
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