The visitor’s locker room at Ricoh Coliseum was noticeably quiet after the Laval Rocket were defeated by the Toronto Marlies by a score of 7-1.
Players were shuffling about, each keeping to themselves in their post-game routine in silence. Some were riding on bikes, others stretching and cooling down. Jeremy Gregoire, sporting a gash on his cheek, walked by with a scowl on his face. Matt Taormina, who was a last minute scratch due to an injury was outside in the hall talking with friends or family. Zachary Fucale, the only healthy scratch due to the team carrying three goaltenders, was having a quiet conversation with another player.
Head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was being interviewed outside the coaches room by French radio for their post-game segment.
There was little reason to be jovial.
It was the worst loss by the Montreal Canadiens farm team since January 31, 2014 when the Hamilton Bulldogs were blanked 6-0 by the Abbotsford Heat.
The only player who was not in motion or looked to be in a post-game routine was Rocket goaltender Charlie Lindgren. He was sitting still in a chair against the far wall of the locker room, gazing forward but probably not looking at anything in particular.
It was the worst game of his professional career, allowing seven goals on 34 shots.
“I would give the first period an F. Four goals, to be down 4-0, it’s unacceptable. It looked like they were the best team [in the league] tonight. I thought we did better in the second and third period, but it’s too late. You can’t have a period like that and expect to come back. Very frustrating game. Seven goals is unacceptable. You have to move on.”
Lefebvre still believed in his team’s chances, and tried to relay a positive message to his team during the first intermission.
“We came out of the first thinking that we can battle back,” said Lindgren. “That we still could dig our way out of that hole. After a first period like that [Lefebvre] said to go back to basics. The biggest thing was effort and working hard. I think we started to do that in the second half of the game, but like I said it was far too late. It was an embarrassing effort. It was horrible. Not good.”
Wins and losses come with the profession, so taking every loss to heart is unsustainable. Players need the ability to accept the loss, shed the frustration, and objectively review the game for lessons learned. Easier said than done for the Laval Rocket, as the pressure of their reality - currently falling farther from a playoff spot - is mounting.
“We’ve got 29 games left, and if we want to make a playoff push we’ve got to get real serious here,” said Lindgren. “We all knew what was at stake with 30 games left to play, and it’s pretty frustrating to see that result back after break. Hopefully we will reset ourselves a little bit but you got to move past it for the next game.”
As to whether a recall to Montreal is on his mind, Lindgren gave no indication that he was concerned about where he was playing, but rather how he was playing.
“I just have to worry about myself. Keep working hard, which I have been doing, just keep on battling. Every day just keep getting better, and that’s my goal.”