• Mavericks scrambling to fill depleted roster

  • Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman has lost some key players, but not his sense of humor.

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  • Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman has lost some key players, but not his sense of humor.
    At Wednesday morning’s practice session, his roster of players was severely depleted.
    “Let’s see,” Hillman, grinning, “we had 13 skaters and a goalie on the ice today. What else do you need?”
    With the loss of forward Kenton Miller and goaltender Mathieu Corbeil, who both were recalled to the Mavericks’ AHL affiliate in Chicago, and the team suspension of forward Jed Ortmeyer and defenseman J.P. Testwuide, who are pursuing other options, the Mavs have the fewest number of players on their roster at any time during this injury-plagued season. Central Hockey League teams have a 19-player roster limit and can dress 16 players and two goaltenders for each game.
    “We lose Miller and Corbeil to Chicago – good for them, they deserve the chance to play at that level – and Ortmeyer and Testwuide are seeking out other options.
    “We did have Blake (Forsyth) and Kinger (Colt King) on the ice for a bit today, but they are not ready to play. Blake is still bothered by the (lower body) injury and Kinger has the hand injury.
    “At least he can get back out on the ice and skate. As soon as the hand heals, we’ll welcome him back.”
    While these are desperate times for a team that is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the league, Hillman isn't about to push the panic button – and neither are his players.
    “You deal with it, although I can't remember going through a scenario like this,” Hillman said. “We've had guys called up to Chicago, guys hurt, guys out with the flu – you name it, we've had.”
    Team captain Sebastien Thinel said he and his teammates accept the challenge of possibly playing in Tulsa Friday and home against Quad City Saturday shorthanded.
    “You know the man in the office upstairs (president and general manager Brent Thiesen) is doing everything he can to get quality players in here,” Thinel said. “In the meantime, we see it as a challenge, and this team loves a challenge.
    “We’re ready for anything.”
    Defensemen David Simoes and Dave Pszenyczny agree.
    “It says right up there – ‘27 games in 52 days,’” Pszenyczny said, pointing to the dry-erase board in the front of the locker room. “It’s going to be challenge, but we’re ready. We don’t have time to worry about the number of players in this locker room. We have to go out and produce.
    “The next two months are going to be crazy, and I think we play better when it's crazy like that. You don't have time to sit around and think about the schedule, you just go out and play.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Added Simoes: “This season has been like a roller coaster, with a lot of ups and downs, and we want a lot of ups in February and March. If we have 14 guys, we have 14 guys, but I know Scott and Brent aren't going to let that happen. They brought in some quality players this past weekend and they'll find some players to help us out.
    “We see it as a challenge, and we're going to play through it and have a great two final months of the season.”

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