Vancouver rookie defenseman Evan Oberg was assigned to Manitoba in Winnipeg in the American Hockey League on Thursday afternoon. The Moose roster now stands at 29 players, who travel to Abbotsford, British Columbia, for a pair of exhibition games Friday and Sunday. The Moose open the regular season Oct. 2 against the Houston Aeros at the MTS Centre.
Oberg, from Forestburg, Alberta, has been writing an occasional blog for Vancouver and here’s what he posted Thursday:
"I want to take some time to reflect on my time here and hopefully not the last of my time here, but being my first training camp and NHL preseason, everything has been great.
"The preseason games were a lot of fun and I felt really good out there, I remember the game in Anaheim, I was just skating in warmup and I wasn’t really paying attention and then all of a sudden, I looked across and Scott Niedermayer was standing right beside me. He’s one of the guys I grew up watching and looking up to, so it was pretty weird. During the game, I didn’t notice too much when or whether we were on the ice together, but I know he was there at some points. He didn’t say anything to me, but I didn’t say anything to him either – not really sure what I would say, but I know that was one of the moments that I’ll definitely remember.
"My first game at GM Place was against the Oilers and I noticed a difference playing on home ice for sure. All Canadian arenas have great fans and are loud and a huge part of coming to Vancouver is seeing the fans, so it was a great experience. I’ve never seen a game as a fan at GM Place, but playing here is amazing and it’s such an experience seeing the fans and being a part of the team. Getting a taste of it – even if it is in the preseason – is motivation for me to keep working harder so I can be a part of this every day.
"The biggest difference between life in college and the NHL is all the time off. At school, I would have practices and games, but then I would have to go study and go to class so all that time was constantly filled. We have practices and games here and we work hard at it, but after practice, we often get the whole day off, so that’s nice and it’s good to have that time to recuperate and rest up for the next day.
"Something else that’s noticeably different is the travel in the NHL. There are a lot more luxuries traveling with the Canucks, that’s for sure. In college I got really familiar with the bus, where we’d travel within Minnesota and Michigan and fly to Colorado, but it’s nothing like the Canucks’ plane, as I’m sure you can imagine.
"But I think the best part of being here is playing with all the NHL players. I’ve learned so much from the D-men in the locker room and I know that it’ll be invaluable for my growth as a player. They’re great players and a lot of them have been around for a while so I’ve learned a lot from those guys, just watching them, seeing their habits in practice and in games, it’s helped me a lot.
"Finally, I want to thank everyone for reading the blog – especially everyone in Forestburg – and all the support. Hopefuly, I’ll be able to keep everyone updated somehow throughout the year."