Take care of the process, and the results will follow.
It’s a bit of a cliché in the sports world at this point, but in many ways, a helpful mentality. But as Guillaume Desbiens would attest, it’s not easy to feel good about your play when you feel like you’re attuned to the process, but the results aren’t materializing.
The Abbotsford Heat winger couldn’t seem to buy a goal during the early portion of the 2011-12 campaign – the first 17 games came and went, and Desbiens didn’t bulge the twine once. It was a frustrating stretch for the snake-bitten veteran, who had scored at a 20-goal pace over his previous three AHL seasons with the Manitoba Moose.
Desbiens was relieved, then, to finally break his personal goose-egg last Saturday, when he took a pass from Dustin Sylvester and beat Oklahoma City Barons goalie Yann Danis with a rising shot. The long-awaited tally stood up as the game-winner in a 4-2 Heat victory.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders,” Desbiens admitted with a grin Thursday, as the Heat prepared for a two-game home set with the San Antonio Rampage this weekend. “I was getting worried a little bit, but you’ve just got to stick with the process.
“It could be a problem when you don’t get chances, but I was getting them. It was just a matter of bearing down and scoring. Hopefully it will be one of many to come.”
At the height of his scoreless streak, Desbiens sat down with Heat head coach Troy Ward to pick his brain on what he could do to bust loose. Ward told him to keep doing what he was doing, and the goals would come.
“His goal-scoring wasn’t a major concern to me,” Ward said. “I think it was for him, obviously, because it’s a prideful thing. But he’s contributed in a lot of other ways that have helped us get off to a good start.
“One of the luxuries we have with Des is he can play a lot of different roles. He can play on the top two lines and add some skill, and he can play on a checking line role and add a physical presence. He’s the guy I’ve probably moved around the most in all of our lines. He’s a handy guy to have as a coach, because you can use him in a lot of different situations.”
The Heat are coming off a wildly successful 6-1 road trip, and they’re hoping to transfer that momentum to home ice as they host the Rampage on Friday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) this weekend at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
Desbiens noted that teams often struggle the first game back after a long road jaunt, but said his squad is battle-ready after a brief but intense practice Thursday.
“When you come home, you lay back a little bit and you’re a little softer than you usually might be,” analyzed Desbiens, who now has a goal and six assists in 19 games. “It’s important for us to get that intensity up for game day, because they (San Antonio) will be ready.”
• Forward Carter Bancks suffered a hand injury in last Saturday’s game at Oklahoma City, and he’s expected to be sidelined for three weeks. Gaelan Patterson is nursing an upper-body injury he sustained on Sunday at Houston, and Ward said he’s not certain as to whether the sophomore centre will be available this weekend.
• The Heat recalled forward Logan MacMillan on Thursday from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. MacMillan had one assist in seven games with Abbotsford earlier this season, and did not register a point in three games with the Grizzlies.