Moroz ready to move on
NHL combine follows bittersweet Memorial Cup for Oil King
By Chris O'Leary, Edmonton Journal
May 28, 2012
Hurt feelings? Yes. Hard feelings? Not for Mitch Moroz.
The Edmonton Oil Kings forward said he was happy for the Shawinigan Cataractes, who took the unlikely step of downing the defending Memorial Cup champion St. John Sea Dogs 7-4 on Friday night in the Memorial Cup semifinal. Shawinigan topped the Oil Kings 6-1 on Thursday night, sending Edmonton home from the tournament. The Cataractes will try to complete their incredible run in the Memorial Cup final on Sunday against the London Knights.
"I think Shawinigan has had some more to play for," Moroz said over the phone on Saturday afternoon. "I'm not sure if they were a little unprepared at the start of the tournament and weren't sure what to expect, but they're a strong team and they play hard.
"They didn't let those St. John big dogs control or take it to them too much. They shut them down and it was great for them, it was great to see a host city do well."
If there's any consolation in losing in a high-stakes tournament like the Memorial Cup, losing to the eventual national junior hockey champion might be it.
"I guess I'd like to see Shawinigan win it," Moroz said, before Shawinigan's 2-1 overtime victory in Sunday's final. "It'd be good for the city and with the venue they put on there. I mean, either way, we'd still like it to have been us, but (losing) might not be as bad if they do win it."
The sting of defeat may pass quickly for Moroz. The Edmonton-born, Calgary-bred winger heads back to Eastern Canada on Monday morning for the NHL's draft combine.
"It's definitely a quick turnaround," he said. "It was an amazing year and now it's just the personal stuff coming after it. I have to give full credit to my teammates, because I wouldn't even be taking off to Toronto without them. All of this personal stuff comes after and that makes it easier to move on from a loss."
A physical player with a knack for scoring, Moroz put together a great draft-year season. The six-foot-two, 208-pounder had 25 points (16 goals, nine assists) in the regular season and led the team in fights, with 19. He had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 20 playoffs games this year. Moroz goes into the combine as NHL Central Scouting's 72nd-ranked North American skater.
The way Moroz sees it, getting an extended look from scouts through his team's run to the Western Hockey League title and in the Memorial Cup has only helped him and his draft-eligible teammates.
"The experience I got through the playoffs and the Memorial Cup was such a bonus for me," he said. "It gave me a lot more opportunity to get noticed, and same with our other guys here.
"Henrik (Samuelsson) had a great Memorial Cup and playoffs and that'll help him in the draft too, and Griff (Griffin Reinhart) has been a steady horse for two years. I'm not sure what else he could do to change his ranking, but it was great to get put on a big stage and it can only help you.
"(Other) guys have been off for two months training for the combine, but I think having a Memorial Cup experience does you a lot more good than a couple of good test scores."
The tests are weighing on Moroz's mind, though. He said that once the season ended, he and a number of his teammates have felt sick. Moroz said it was likely a long season catching up to some depleted immune systems.
"It kind of all just hits you once you take a step back," he said. "When you're playing in the moment and stuff, you're still trying to play for something, you don't let it get to you."
While he may not be at his physical peak right now, Moroz said he was prepping for the mental aspect of the combine.
"The interviews are huge. They want to know what kind of a person you are and you want to be yourself there and you want to stay levelheaded not get too wound up about those.
"You definitely have to put the work in for the testing too, because they want to know that you put the effort in and that you're in not bad shape, so I mean, you've got to crank it up again for the next week. It'll be fun."
The draft combine gets underway in Toronto on May 28 and runs through June 2.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal