The Halifax Mooseheads are going to spend the next few days getting to the bottom of their early playoff exit.
Ownership and management has had little to say to media in the days since the Mooseheads were unceremoniously swept from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinals last Thursday at the hands of the Gatineau Olympiques.
It was a disastrous end to a season that began with Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith stating that the star-studded group had “the potential to be the best Mooseheads team ever.”
Management and coaches will hold exit meetings with the players today and tomorrow, while Smith will meet with management and coaches to determine what went wrong.
Smith maintained the general silence yesterday, saying he will have more to say later in the week.
“We’re disappointed with the way the season ended. Obviously,” he said. “It came to a crashing halt. It’s particularly sobering to lose four straight. We can’t say it was a bounce here, a play there, or a penalty call here. We’re going to take a hard look at how we approach next season and get ready to move forward.”
Amid the silence, rumours abound, and there have been rumblings that coaching changes could be on the way. But sources say head coach Cam Russell has little to worry about, and the hockey operations department may be safe, too.
This week’s meetings will ultimately determine what direction the franchise takes heading into its 15th season.
One thing that didn’t contribute to the team’s collapse was injuries. General manager Marcel Patenaude said on the weekend that the team was “pretty healthy” and had “no major injuries whatsoever,” including all-star Jakub Voracek, whose post-season production dropped well below his normal standard.
At least one member of the Mooseheads feels that his lack of effort, at times, contributed to the early exit.
“There were times that I could have given a better effort or better performances,” Colby Pridham said. “I have a few regrets, but I speak for myself and not the rest of the team.”
Pridham, a 20-year-old assistant captain, has been one of the hardest-working players on the team since cracking the lineup as a walk-on two years ago. If he feels that way, others do too, and getting to the root of the cause will be a key as the Mooseheads retool in pursuit of their first President’s Cup.