John-Scott Dickson’s mood was upbeat and downright cheerful following a fast-paced Thursday morning practice in which his Kansas City Mavericks squad continued to show improvement following a weekend that featured a win, two solid games and a clunker.

“We were all wondering how the guys would respond following that debacle last Friday,” Dickson said, referring to a 7-3 loss to Wichita, which started a three-in-three weekend against the Thunder, with two games at Silverstein Eye Centers Area and the Sunday matinee in Wichita.

“When you lose 7-3, nothing goes right, nothing is good enough, and we had to come back Saturday and play better and we did,” he added, referring to a thrilling 3-2 overtime win in which goalie Nick Schneider and his teammates rebounded from the Friday night disaster to claim a big home win.

“Nick was great in the net Saturday, and he certainly wasn’t responsible for all those goals Friday night. That was just a team loss, like Saturday was a team win. Everyone who skated made a contribution, and Nick came away with some big saves and a big win.

“And we had (Haden) Hawkey in the net Sunday in Wichita and came within a few minutes of going into overtime and getting a tough one or two points on the road, but a mistake at the end – a missed assignment that shouldn’t have happened – allowed them to get that final goal (in a 3-2 loss).

“I can’t accept a loss like Friday – no one can. We came back and played great Saturday and we played well enough to win Sunday. I can accept a loss like that. That’s hockey, and Hawkey really did well in the net.”

Dickson gave his team Monday off and they hit the ice at SEC Arena Tuesday. And he has been thrilled with what he’s seen.

“We’ve had a great week of practice and we hope it translates into two big home wins Friday and Saturday against Utah,” Dickson said, as the Utah Grizzlies visit SEC Arena for 7:05 p.m. games Friday and Saturday.

WONDERFUL WEEK/TOY DRIVE: The Mavericks and HCA Midwest announced their joint "It's A Wonderful Week With The Mavericks" holiday give back campaign.

It begins today prior to the Mavericks game against the Grizzlies, as fans are asked to start bringing toys and stuffed animals for the Dec. 7 Teddy Bear Toss into the arena to be placed in collection bins at the Mavericks ticket (behind section 109) and promo (behind section 112) tables at SEC Arena.

In addition to the stuffed animals for the Teddy Bear Toss, HCA child life services are asking specifically for Play-doh, coloring books, crayons and children's board books as well.

The Mavs and HCA Midwest are partnering together to launch this campaign to help various HCA pediatric treatment facilities around the metro.

The Mavericks’ players and mascots will be visiting various pediatric units at HCA hospitals in an effort to give back to the community.

Additionally, over the next seven home games, the Mavericks are encouraging their fans to bring toys for a child life toy drive. These toys will be given to child life services at various HCA hospitals in Kansas City for hospitalized children to play with, allowing them to feel a sense of normalcy while they are receiving care.

Toy and Teddy Bear Toss donation bins will be located at the promo and ticket tables for home games Friday, Saturday and Monday, and at arena entrances on Nov. 16 and Dec. 6.

The team also encourages all fans to participate in the annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 7 when the Mavericks invite fans to throw stuffed animals on the ice after the Mavericks’ first goal. These stuffed animals will then be donated to hospitals and other organizations around the city to be given to children who are hospitalized or victims of trauma during the holiday season.

If you cannot make it to a game during this campaign, you can drop toys and stuffed animals off at all area Long John Silvers, A&W Restaurants and Plowboys BBQ locations.