OKC Barons: Tyler Pitlick has grown as a hockey player and contributed to team's success
Barons coach Todd Nelson said the rookie forward is a much better player than when the season started in October. Barons begin the AHL's Western Conference Finals against Toronto at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Cox Center.
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“Every young player goes through an adjustment period, on the ice and off the ice,” Nelson said. “You're living with a roommate now and cooking for yourself and going to the dry cleaners and doing everything else one your own.
“There's an adjustment period and we understand that.”
Nelson saw it last year with Philippe Cornet, who had the exact same regular-season scoring stats (16 assists, 23 points) last year that Pitlick has produced this season.
“He was in the same situation and all of the sudden, he (Cornet) caught fire around February or March,” Nelson said. “Tyler's a lot better hockey player right now than he was at the start of the year.”
Pitlick knows the adjustment period he experienced this year in OKC can't be repeated when and if the call comes from Edmonton.
“I have to take advantage of the moment and go for it right away, otherwise I'll be sent down,” he said. “There's no time for transition, so I need to be ready to jump in and take advantage right away.”
For now, Pitlick is trying to take advantage of the Barons' deep playoff run while also enjoying it as much as possible.
“We all get along so well,” Pitlick said. “It's just awesome being with these guys and being such a close team with a great group of guys and learning from the other guys, learning what it takes to win.
“I think everyone who plays here loves it. It's just a great city and I just really like waking up every morning and walking to the rink. We have a lot of fun, even when we're working.”
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