The good news for the Remparts is that Louis Crevier and William Rousseau were back in practice Friday morning. The bad ? Zachary Bolduc and Davis Cooper have been added to the list of players affected by the influenza outbreak within the team.
They were therefore still six players absent on Friday, two days before the start of the second-round series against the Rimouski Océanic, in addition to assistant coach Benoît Desrosiers. Besides Bolduc and Cooper, Nathan Gaucher, James Malatesta, Nicolas Savoie and Evan Nause were still missing.
Right now, the Remparts have no choice but to manage every situation, hour by hour. Will everyone be available to take part in Sunday night's game at the Videotron Centre? Before answering the question, Patrick Roy made the sign of the cross.
"I hope so," he added. I don't know how long it will take. However, we have to stay focused. Like I told the guys, we can't stop doing what we've been doing since the start of the playoffs. I just want us to handle adversity well and for now, we're handling it as best we can. I would have liked to meet on Saturday, but with six players less and two who are correct, nothing more, it is not ideal. Time will sort things out, I guess. »
A GOOD FLU
In the category of "correct, nothing more", there is Louis Crevier.
The latter was one of the first players to contract the flu, through assistant coach Benoît Desrosiers.
“I woke up on Tuesday with sensitive skin. I didn't know other guys had it so I figured it was just a bad day. The next day I found out that a few others had it and it was linked to Ben who had it in Chicoutimi. I had the classic flu symptoms. I was coughing, it was just annoying, but nothing serious. »
On Friday morning, Patrick Roy expected at least Gaucher and Malatesta to be back in practice on Saturday. Since the situation is changing quickly, Roy preferred to focus on the players he has in his hands before thinking about the disaster scenario where he would have to make recalls.
Speaking of goalies, Roy still hadn't decided who, William Rousseau or Fabio Iacobo, would be on duty for the first game against the Océanic on Sunday night.
The Rimouski Oceanic was still on cloud nine on Friday following their surprise victory in five games against the Saint John Sea Dogs, future hosts of the Memorial Cup.
Serge Beausoleil's men arrived in Rimouski in the middle of the afternoon on Friday and they will quickly have to come back down to earth as they head to Quebec City on Saturday, for the first game of the series on Sunday.
"I have no idea how we're going to come down from our cloud," said head coach Serge Beausoleil. It will be a mental challenge for our guys. It is no small feat that they managed to do. We only have one offensive engine in Xavier Cormier and he wasn't even in the lineup. I am proud of them. Now, I have no idea how it's going to be. The guys have gone home and they will have 24 hours before we leave for Quebec. »
One thing is certain, the victory against the Sea Dogs allows the Océanic to believe that they have what it takes to stand up to the Remparts, against whom they have done well this season (Québec has won five of the eight games).
“We are able to compete with them. We faced the team with the most goals scored in the season and I knew that would allow us to see what our challenge was. Against the Remparts, it will be the same thing since they presented the second best attack in the season. They have a lot of speed and they are better structured defensively. They don't give many shots and are stingy with goals against. »
Moreover, Beausoleil can understand the situation in which the Remparts find themselves since they, too, had to deal with an outbreak of influenza earlier this season.
“My assistant had had COVID-19 and had symptoms of a mild cold. On the other hand, he had the flu afterwards and he was solidly on his back. It's case by case. On the other hand, it is certain that it comes to draw on your energies. »
The Océanic is also mortgaged. The team finished the series against the Sea Dogs without Cormier, Julien Béland and Luke Coughlin.
“I would be surprised to see Cormier come back soon. Béland is closer to a return to play and Coughlin will be out for the long term,” Beausoleil said.