Oscar Dansk remains a work in progress, even after his stellar 34-save performance Friday night against Brampton.
“I’m just taking it a day at a time,” the rookie goaltender said before the Erie Otters’ game against London Saturday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Dansk missed time in the preseason while recovering from a knee injury suffered in the summer while playing for his native Sweden’s national junior team at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. So Dansk is still working on his timing.
“It’s something I work on every day. You get better and better every day,” said Dansk, who believes he produced a solid overall effort in his first five games of the season. He entered his outing against the Knights with a 2-3-0-0 record, 4.51 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. He surrendered 19 goals on 110 shots in his losses to Niagara, London and Ottawa.
Yet he stopped 81-of-83 shots in wins against Brampton and Peterborough. “It’s up to me to prove myself,” said Dansk, who added that his return to full strength was slowed by “different opinions from different people” regarding his rehabilitation. But he’s ready to play now. And on Saturday, he was ready to face the Knights, who scored seven goals on 39 shots against him in London Sept. 21.
“I’m really pumped,” he said. “We’re looking to rebound.”
Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, isn’t concerned about Dansk’s inconsistent start early this season.
Besides the knee injury and subsequent slow rehabilitation, Bassin said, goaltending coach Peter Sidorkiewicz was unable to work with Dansk and backup Devin Williams on the ice until this past Tuesday. The ongoing renovations at the downtown arena forced the Otters to settle for an abbreviated practice schedule in previous weeks. Yet Ian Clark, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ goaltending coach, is scheduled to arrive in Erie today to work with Dansk, the NHL club’s second-round pick in the draft this past June.
“He’s still not there,” Bassin said of Dansk. “He’s getting there.” Better yet, Bassin said, “the players love playing in front of him.”
* News and notes: Scott Howson, the Blue Jackets’ executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager, attended both games this weekend to watch Dansk play. … The Otters scratched Anthony Cortellessa (flu) and Dane Fox (broken foot). Liam Maaskant, Justin Felker and Mitch Eisenberg were healthy scratches. Maaskant and Eisenberg haven’t dressed for a game this season.
- Victor Fernandes