Playing in his first game of the season for the Vancouver Canucks following a preseason head injury, defenceman Travis Dermott played 15:09 against the Winnipeg Jets and registered three hits and two blocked shots. The only goal he was on the ice for in the 4-2 loss was teammate Conor Garland’s 3rd period effort that cut the Winnipeg lead to 3-2 with 6:49 remaining in the hockey game.
Dermott also took a minor penalty, but it was a good one at the time. He interfered with Jets forward Mark Scheifele to prevent a 2-on-0 break. Unfortunately for Dermott, Winnipeg scored on the ensuing power play.
“I want to thank these guys in here (medical staff) for taking such good care of me and not not rushing me back too fast and making sure I’m fully healthy,” Dermott said after Thursday’s morning skate. “But now that we’re there, I’m ready to go and ready to help the team out a little bit. So, whatever the team needs me to do, hopefully they throw me in here and let me loose.”
The NHL effort Thursday night appeared to leave Dermott a bit winded at times, after a single conditioning game at the AHL level with the Abbotsford Canucks helped the cause. All in all, a solid performance.
Dermott wants to put his first concussion experience behind him, and for one evening he did just that. He suggests that while sitting out since September, he learned a lot about himself.
“Something like this definitely took a mental toll on myself,” Dermott said Thursday. “Something that I had to learn to deal with and learn from, and I’m saying I’m stronger because of it because it’s definitely a mental battle some days. You look at yourself in the mirror and everything looks fine, and you come in here, some days you feel good, some days you don’t. So it was definitely some up and downs. But those tough days are where you really learn, learn where your character is from and see how much you can push through, and those were the days I really learned.”
Dermott and the Canucks are back at it on Saturday night in Calgary against the Flames, a team Vancouver beat at the Saddledome 4-3 in a shoot-out back on December 14th.