“It is completely out of my control. I played as hard as I could every game I played and one game you don’t get your jersey. You just have to keep working and try to prove that you can get back in there.”
Oates doesn’t expect, or want, players to be happy when they’re not playing. He said he considers himself a communicator, but also admits there are times when players just have to accept it without explanation.
“It’s just part of the game,” Oleksy said. “Nobody likes to sit out. You just have to keep a positive attitude, stay the course and be ready when you do get a chance. You can only control what you can control — that’s your attitude and how hard you work. You have to contribute any way you can, even if you aren’t in the lineup.”
The obvious answer would seem to be having 20 players on hand and extras a phone call away in the minors, where they can work on their skills in actual games. But Oates and his coaching colleagues say they need extras on hand to practice properly and because injuries are more frequent in a physical game like hockey. Most teams keep the allowable 23, though some go with 22.
Though he’s hardly playing, Beagle said he’s right where he wants to be. He’d rather be in his current spot than playing in the minors.
“I love the guys here. This is where I want to be,” he said. “You take this time to get stronger, on and off the ice. You take this time to work on things you normally can’t work on. One of those things for me is my hands — I’ve been working on it a month now, trying to get better every day.
“There’s a lot of guys who want to be here and I realize I’m blessed to be here. Every time I do go into a game, I never take it for granted. Every game I play, I give it everything I have.”