It was a busy week for the Laval Rocket, and doubly so for the newly acquired Kerby Rychel, who joined the team right before their three-game weekend. The Rocket went 1-2-0 on the trip, but not for a lack of effort from the newest member of the organization. Eyes On The Prize was lucky enough to catch up with him and head coach Sylvain Lefebvre following the final game of their trip in Rochester.
EOTP: It’s obviously been a busy week, going from Toronto to Laval and jumping into this three-game weekend. How has the transition been?
Rychel: It’s always a change you know, when you move organizations like this, but I’m in a great one here [in Laval/Montreal]. I’m looking forward to hopefully being here for a while.
Playing in the Toronto organization, you played the Canadiens AHL affiliates in St. John’s and Laval a lot. Has that made it easier to mesh with new teammates, having played them so often?
Uh, yeah for sure, I mean I know a few guys from growing up playing against them, and with them in other organizations. So, yeah, hockey is a good sport, anytime you move teams, the guys are always good and welcoming.
You were a big part of the team’s offence this weekend and got your first goal in your first game in Laval. Is that a bit of a relief to get that right away?
Yeah, it’s nice to get it out of the way, and playing with two veteran guys [Adam Cracknell and Chris Terry] helps a lot, and I’m looking forward to keep going here.
What’s something you’re looking to accomplish before the season ends?
Just take it day by day; just work as hard as I can and see what happens.
EOTP: A tough game today, at the end of a three-in-three weekend. With a bit of a thin lineup, how do you manage a team going into a game like this?
Lefebvre: You try to manage the energy, and obviously with the travelling and finishing Friday night’s game with just 10 forwards, and going to overtime last night it’s tough. Today I thought we lost a little bit of that energy by the end of the game and ran out of gas a bit.
You mentioned energy, and call-up Willie Corrin played a good amount. Was that due to him giving his teammates a boost early in this game?
Yeah, he’s playing well, and we wanted to get him out there as much as possible. He joins the rush, he creates some plays offensively, and defensively he’s defending well. He deserved to play more in this game.
What can you say about the play of your goaltenders this week? Both turned in a number of strong games, even if they weren’t always a win.
We have some good goaltending here. All year long, it’s been pretty good. Tonight we just had to find a way to get that third goal. We can’t just give up a breakaway like that for their third goal, because then you run after your tail a bit in the third period, and we couldn’t get anything going.
You have to give credit to the Amerks. They played really well in the third period. They blocked shots and we didn’t get many shots before the eight-minute mark of the period.
Is there any challenge with getting new guys incorporated in the lineup after a trade, especially with the injuries and call-ups that the team has gone through?
It’s always a challenge, and I think that the guys that are here do a great job getting those guys adjusted to the team and to feel welcome here.
A few players have gone up to the NHL from the AHL this year and made an immediate impact, like Nikita Scherbak and Noah Juulsen. What does that say about the development that you’re fostering here, that they can go from the AHL to the NHL and look right at home?
You see the things we do on a daily basis, and the passion that we have, and the work ethic that we have. Not only as a group of coaches, but throughout the organization, as well as the players. We base our systems on pace and work ethic, and it goes all the way through the organization.