Doucette and Johnson looking for expanded role
The pressure is a little bit heavier, but the confidence is higher this season for two Warriors.
Defencemen Bradien Doucette and Kirk Johnson are entering their third and second seasons, respectively with the Moose Jaw Warriors and are focused on earning an everyday role with the team.
“Being an everyday player is big. You have to put up numbers or do something to keep yourself in the lineup — you can’t be in and out, you want to stay in the lineup and play all games, if possible,” stated Doucette. “I feel confident in myself and I just have to prove to the coaches that I can do it when they ask me to.”
Doucette played in 63 games last season on the back end, scoring two goals and seven points. This off-season he focused on getting bigger and stronger.
“I switched my trainers around and went a little farther into Edmonton this year so I could put on some more weight and work on my speed and strength,” he said.
Being an 18-year-old with the Warriors will require Doucette to step up his game and be a bigger contributor. That is the expectation he put on himself prior to the season.
“This year is a big year for me,” he stated. “I’d like to be more offensive and just put up more points. It is not enough just putting up two goals a season. You need to be more offensive, be it on the power play or even strength.”
Last season was a year of growth for Johnson, as it was his rookie year. However, now he is focused on becoming a leader on this Warriors squad as he enters his second full season.
In the off-season, Johnson continued to work on his fitness by doing CrossFit, something he has been doing for the past three years.
“I’ve always done CrossFit, so just the lifts and the protein I was using and just everything helped out,” he explained. “I feel like I made a lot of gains this year.”
His goal for this season is to earn more minutes on the back end, but realizes the work he has to put in to prove to head coach Mike Stothers that he has earned that expanded role.
“That is exactly what I want (more ice time),” Johnson said. “When you come into your second year, you want to be more of a leader and show the young guys what they need to do. I definitely want to adjust and improve on some things I need to improve on.”
Although he does feel some pressure to improve upon the two points he had last season, he is coming in more certain of his skill set.
“There is always pressure, but I think coming in as a second year guy, I have a little more confidence and that helps out with the game plan,” Johnson said.
The Warriors open their season at home on Sept. 20 against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
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