Tyler Currier has played in four professional hockey games, and three have been against the first-place Rapid City Rush.
Now, the Missouri Mavericks rookie forward hopes to make it five out of six games against the Rush as they come to the Independence Events Center for 7:05 p.m. games tonight and Saturday.
Currier, who enjoyed an injury-free collegiate career, broke his ankle in the preseason when he took a teammate's shot off the laces of his skate while guarding the net.
Then, after sitting and watching the Mavs get off to the best start in team history, he returned to action against Tulsa only to suffer a high ankle sprain – on the same ankle he broke in preseason.
“And Wednesday night I thought I was going to get cut in two by a Samurai sword,” said Currier, who joined fellow Mavs rookie and roommate Anders Franzon as guest grillers at B.D.'s Mongolian Grill near the Events Center. “Ders (Franzon) was attempting to juggle the things you grill with – we called them Samurai swords – and his went flying across the grill right at me.”
Currier dodged the airborne grilling stick and managed to keep his sense of humor.
“Ders needs a new stick,” Currier called out, as a new grilling utensil was retrieved from the kitchen. “Can't grill without a new stick.”
The two rookies were big hits at B.D.'s as manager Eric King said, “Wednesday is usually pretty solid, but nothing like this. What's great about these two players is that they are really getting into it and having fun. I think they're having as much fun as our patrons – and you can tell by the line (that wound through the restaurant) that a lot of people are here to see the Maverick players.”
Currier introduced birthday guests, chided Franzon for his lack of skill with the Samurai swords and even created nicknames for the different food combinations he was presented.
“We have an egg,” Currier shouted out, “we need a pancake.”
Or, “We have two eggs, get out the waffles.”
Then there was the crowd favorite, “Three eggs – who wants an omelette?”
Teammate Matt Stephenson was also on hand, but he could got get behind the grill because he just got over a cold.
“No extra charge for the egg shells,” he told a guest when Franzon cracked an egg that left bits of shell on the grill. “He can't hear me. That (exhaust) fan is so noisy, he can't hear anything. I wish I was back there – it looks like those guys are having a lot of fun.”
But the real fun will be when Currier rejoins his teammates this weekend.
“The most fun I'm going to have is when I get back on the ice,” Currier said. “I have the chance to play my fifth and sixth games this weekend. It's been miserable rehabbing and waiting to get back, and now, we're playing for first place, we have 18 guys on the team and they're going to need me to come out and play, and play well. And that's what I hope to do.”
The Rush come to the Events Center with 44 points, while the second-place Mavericks have 41. A two-game sweep puts the Mavericks in first place.
“Right now, aside from my history with the Rush, all any of us are thinking about is winning Friday night,” said Mavericks forward Colt King, a former Rush star who missed the three-game series in Rapid City because he was serving a seven-game suspension. “After Friday night, we can start thinking about Saturday night. You have to take these games – especially big games like these – one at a time. You don't want to get ahead of yourself.”