The Kelowna Rockets can only guess what kind of ramifications there will be from an eight-day break between games.
The WHL champs, who haven’t played since a week ago Wednesday when they closed out the Brandon Wheat Kings, are just hours away from learning the answer on major junior hockey’s biggest stage.
Tonight the Rockets face off against the Quebec Remparts in their most crucial game to date, the opener of the 2015 Memorial Cup at Colisée Pepsi.
“Until the puck drops we won’t know exactly how it affected us, if it affected us at all,” Rockets head coach Dan Lambert said of the layoff.
With that in mind, Lambert doesn’t want his team to use a wait-and-see approach against Quebec.
“I’m looking for us to play our game, I’m looking for us to come out reedy to go,” Lambert said. “In a tournament like this, even though there may be a bit of a feel out process, I don’t think you can afford to have that for very long if you are, so I just want us to get going and play our game as quick as we can.”
The Remparts, who reached the Quebec league final before losing in seven games to Rimouski, have their share of weapons, including high-scoring forwards Adam Erne and Anthony Duclair.
The Remparts also have a mobile defensive corps that Lambert would like to pressure as quickly as possible after opening face off.
“They have very skilled defense, they like to move the puck, so I think it’s important for us to get on them early,” Lambert said
As is the case for the rest of his teammates, Leon Draisaitl is anxious to get back on the ice after an extended break and finally play for real.
“It’s exciting that’s for sure,” said Draisaitl “I think everyone wants to start off with playing the home team, you know it’s going to be loud and noisy and that’s real exciting for us and for the (Remparts) as well.”