It might not make the task any easier, but at least the Kelowna Rockets know exactly what they’re going to get from the rival Vancouver Giants.
As usual, Don Hay’s club will be expected to leave it all on the ice when they visit Prospera Place Saturday night for the Rockets 2011 home opener.
“Year after year they’ve done a very good job of making sure the program sticks with its identity,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
“They’re a hardworking team, they get lots of traffic in front of your net, and they’re always tough to play against. I don’t expect anything different (Saturday).”
The Rockets haven’t played since last Saturday when they downed the Silvertips 5-4 in Everett in their season opener.
With the excitement and anticipation of their home opener mounting all week long, Huska is urging his players to keep their emotions on an even keel.
“I think we have to try and get our players to manage their time well during the day,” he said,. “It can seem like a long wait and the players can get pretty excited. It’s important to make sure they don’t waste their energy prior to the game, and just control the excitement level.”
As of Thursday, the Giants biggest offensive threat, Brendan Gallagher, remained with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.
As for the Rockets, veteran forward Shane McColgan, 18, will make his season debut Saturday after spending the better part of three weeks at N.Y. Rangers training.
The club is still without 19-year-old forward Brett Bulmer who remains on the pre-season roster of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
Rookie defenceman Madison Bowey is expected to miss another two weeks of action with a knee injury.