From afar, the London Knights look pedestrian. They sit sixth in the Western Conference with a 5-3 record — about as average as it gets.
Zoom in and you find a club slightly unsatisfied with itself, yet utterly determined to come away with three victories this weekend.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us, going three-in-three,” veteran Knights forward Seth Griffith said. “Even if you are tired, you have to make sure pucks are getting in deep because you might not have that extra step on the back-check.”
Added London bench boss Dale Hunter, nonchalantly: “We have a lot of guys who played last year. They’re used to it; they know what it’s about. Every team does it.”
There’s no doubt anticipation of the team’s first overnight road trip of the season is stirring in each player’s head. After a nationally televised home game Friday against the Erie Otters, the Knights travel to Barrie for a Saturday night tilt against the Colts, followed by a day game in Sudbury versus the Wolves on Sunday.
Where the Knights are going this season
Preparation was well underway at Tuesday’s practice.
About a dozen players participated in a power-skating session around noon. That was followed by a full-team video session in the locker-room, before filing onto the Budweiser Gardens ice for a lengthy, high-energy workout.
Griffith, London’s marquee weapon up front, was one of the power-skaters. The Boston Bruins prospect wasn’t forced to attend. However, he’s conscious of the fact the two points he recorded against the Oshawa Generals on Sunday mean squat when he finishes with a minus-3 rating.
A 45-goal man last season, the 19-year-old is still putting the puck in the net at an admirable pace. Heading into Wednesday’s action, Griffith is tied for third in points in the OHL, along with teammate Max Domi.
But this season, opponents are roughing Griffith up every chance they get.
“I lucked out,” he said of narrowly avoiding injury from a hit thrown by Oshawa’s Colin Sullentrop last weekend.
Teammates Domi (ankle), Tommy Hughes (knee), and Kevin Bailie (ankle) were all victims of pain in the 5-3 defeat. Two days later, the trio was back on the ice, completely healthy, save for some bruising.
The interactive map displays each overnight road trip the Knights will go on over the course of the 2012-13 regular season.
After this weekend, they’ll be hitting the road for four other journeys, including a pair of Saginaw-Sault Ste. Marie adventures.
Pawley ready for action
“I’m not saying 100 per cent — you never know in hockey — but I would imagine he’ll be playing this weekend.” — Knights head coach Dale Hunter, on the possibility of rookie forward Corey Pawley dressing for his first regular season game
*This post also appears in Metro London’s Oct. 18 print edition