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This article was published 23/2/2011 (2345 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — He weathered the pressure-cooker of a week with the first-overall team in the NHL.
Now rookie defenceman Yann Sauve is back with the Manitoba Moose, eyes opened a little but just hoping to resume his growth as a pro.
"It was real fun, a good experience," Sauve said this morning after the Vancouver Canucks sent him back to the Moose on Tuesday. "For sure the pace is faster but I think I got a tempo going and I think I stepped up my game a bit. I had to, otherwise they were going to eat me alive."
Sauve, who turned 21 last week, and second-year pro Evan Oberg will be back in the Moose lineup here tonight against the Rochester Americans.
Oberg was recalled for two games as he and Sauve helped the Canucks through an injury crisis on their blueline.
"I just expect them to continue to grow and play well," Moose head coach Claude Noel said this morning about Sauve and Oberg. "I think it was a really good experience for them to go there and make an assessment on what it takes to play in the NHL and be a regular player. And to take that experience and bring it here as a path to growth.
"I don’t expect them to take full control of this team. Just fit in and do what you did before that got you the recall."
The Moose, tied in first in the AHL’s North Division with Hamilton and Lake Erie with 66 points, begin their schedule of 11 straight games away from the MTS Centre with tonight’s encounter with the Rochester Americans (6:05 p.m. CT, CJOB).
They’re also back here at Blue Cross Arena on Friday night before rolling up to Toronto for a Saturday-Sunday afternoon doubleheader.
With Sauve’s and Oberg’s return, the Moose have eight defencemen. Noel said this morning that he’ll employ the normal six defencemen and 12 forwards for tonight’s game.
He’s trying to stay away from the odd-numbered seven defencemen, which normally leaves the forward contingent one short of a clean four lines. That strategy was employed by the Moose for 17 of 18 games in December and January, because at the time, the team had nine healthy and quality defencemen.