The Moose Jaw Warriors have been playing this week down five regulars from their lineup, which made for a welcomed sight on Thursday as a number of key players returned to practice.
The biggest return was that of defenceman Josh Brook. The 18-year-old has missed all 21 games this season for the Warriors after suffering a wrist injury that required surgery during Montreal Canadiens’ rookie camp.
“There’s a lot of rust still, but it feels awesome to get back on the ice and skating,” said Brook, who was selected in the second round by Montreal in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Brook was cleared by the Canadiens’ doctors earlier this week to begin skating and return to game action soon.
After sitting on the sidelines for the past two months, Brook said conditioning is the biggest obstacle for him to overcome right now, “Conditioning and getting comfortable back on the ice, there’s a lot to work on to improve,” he said.
“Montreal said I was progressing really well and I can get back to playing in a bit… I’ve still got to strengthen the wrist and make sure it’s ready to go.”
Brook made some big strides last season as he developed into the Warriors’ number one defenceman, scoring eight goals and 40 points in 69 games. He entered training camp looking poised for a big season. While the injury pushed back that start, Brook has been working to stay in shape during his time on injured list, “I was working out everyday on the bike and lifting as much weights as I could,” he said.
The Warriors played on Tuesday and Wednesday without four of their regular defencemen in the lineup. Brook said he isn’t feeling pressure to rush back and wants to make sure that he’s 100-percent when he returns.
“There’s no stress right now, our team is still doing well, but I want to get back as soon as I can, not just because we’re lacking D but because I want to get back out there and help out the team,” he said.
Moose Jaw will host Calgary and Saskatoon this weekend at Mosaic Place.