A new feature for the sports section, the Manitoban sits down with Bison men’s hockey forward Brett Stovin and talks about various topics relating to their season. This will be a recurring feature throughout the season, so make sure to look out for it.
Manitoban: Alright, you guys are 5-7. Are you happy with your record so far?
Stovin: We’ve let some wins slip away that we could’ve had. Most of our losses have been one goal games, where it’s just just a bad bounce and it goes the other team’s way. So we’re looking to improve, in saying that we have the top three teams in the next three weekends going into Christmas so it’s going to be very difficult. We’re hoping to set ourselves up better coming into these weekends but it is what it is. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.
M: Can we see any better from this team? Do you think there’s more than what the record shows?
S: We’ve had a lot of injury issues, and some illnesses – it’s not an excuse but we haven’t had the full team together. The lines are changing every night, screwing up the chemistry. So as much as it sucks and you don’t want to use it as an excuse, there are reasons for the way we’re playing. Once you get into the thick of things at the end of the season, hopefully things are figured out. No injuries, no illnesses, and guys are able to play together for back-to-back games even, never mind a stretch. I’ve had different line mates every single game. After Christmas hopefully we can stay healthy and that’ll be kind of the base improvement for us, is just getting used to playing with certain guys.
M: What do you think is the biggest difference between the team from this year and the team from last year?
S: I talked about this earlier in the season, but it’s our depth, and that one hundred per cent has come through as the biggest difference for us this year. [Justin] Augert, [Shaq] Merasty, and [Remi] Laurencelle have been carrying most of the load for us offensively. They’ve been consistently in the lineup playing together and that’s the only line that’s kind of stuck together and that shows that playing together makes a difference. Guys are stepping up as well, [Quinton] Lisoway, and [Jordan] DePape scores when he’s in the lineup. [Nick Zajac] scored the other night. Different guys are scoring. That’s the depth that we needed coming into this year and especially with the injury problems. Two weekends ago our top three centremen were out of the lineup and with that depth, guys are stepping up and putting the puck in the net.
M: How do you think all the rookies this season are fitting in?
S: They’re all actually fitting in very well. They’re playing the roles that they’ve been asked to play and they’re stepping up and scoring big goals for us. We’re actually kind of leaning on them more than we’re leaning on the vets right now. They’re playing extremely well and and scoring a lot of goals for us. That’s kind of what we needed from them and hopefully once we get healthy all the vets can step up and help the young guys out.
M: Let’s talk about the strike. Does that throw everything off? A lot of guys might be used to the structure of going to class and then practice. Is that messing with you personally or the team at all?
S: There’s ups and downs to it. Personally for me I have all four of my classes canceled so it’s like playing junior again for me. I have some injury problems right now, so I’m basically getting physio and seeing doctors during the day. Then I come to the rink hangout with boys for practice and then I go home and that’s kind of how it is. As for the team, there’s a few guys that don’t have anything affected, a lot of business guys on our team and that faculty seems to not really be affected as most of them have their classes. So it doesn’t really throw much off, for some of us it’s like junior. Nothing has really changed hockey-wise.
M: You’re currently injured, so what’s it like watching it from the stands? What’s different?
S: I haven’t watched a game since my 19-year-old season in the WHL. So watching I’m actually learning a lot, and I’m really excited to get back in the lineup now because I’ve seen things from the stands that I never see on the ice. I’m learning a lot from my teammates, as much it sucks watching the game. The game is fast but the biggest thing I’ve learnt is I have more time out there than I thought I had. I know I can slow my game down about a second just to make that proper play.