No team ever wants injuries but sometimes there can be silver linings.
In the case of the Halifax Mooseheads, having four defencemen unavailable on the weekend benefitted one player in particular. Rookie Lucas Robinson went from playing sparingly - and often not dressing at all - to carrying a huge load.
Robinson and the three healthy veterans - Patty Kyte, Justin Barron and Jason Horvath - chewed up virtually all of the ice time after Walter Flower joined Brendan Tomilson and Jared McIsaac on the sidelines, and Cameron Whynot left for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
"It was great to get to play that much," said Robinson, who has appeared in nine of Halifax's 18 games. "The more time you're here the better you feel and the more confidence you get. I just want to keep going from there."
Just making the team in the first place was a worthy accomplishment for Robinson. He was Halifax's eighth-round pick (142nd overall) this past June after being passed over in the 2018 QMJHL draft. But he impressed management and the coaches in the pre-season with his smart, steady play so they kept him around. He has been sponging up everything ever since and made very few mistakes in Saturday's home game against the Saint John Sea Dogs even though he played 20-plus minutes.
"I felt like I could play in some kind of junior league but to be here has just been great," he said. "It's been excellent. The level is just so much higher here and you get to keep pushing all the time to get better. I've been loving it.
"I think I've gotten better at moving the puck fast, just getting it on my stick and making a play faster than what I used to. There's less time and space, players are faster so you just have to make sure you're ready to make a crisp pass."
Robinson is from the picturesque Western Newfoundland town of Rocky Harbour, which is kind of like home base for Gros Morne national park. Roughly 1,000 people live there and Robinson had to travel to Corner Brook for his bantam AAA and midget AAA hockey.
"It was an hour and 15 minute drive to every practice," he said. "It's definitely different (living in a city) now because you're closer to more people. Usually at home you see all the same people every day but here it's almost all strangers day to day. But hockey keeps me busy so it's been great."
The Mooseheads' next game is at home on Friday against the Drummondville Voltigeurs. McIsaac still needs more rehab before he's ready to make his season debut and Whynot won't be back from the Under-17's until Sunday but Tomilson and Flower are both day to day so there's a good chance they'll be back in the lineup. Injured forwards Cole Foston and Cole Stewart are targetting next week's road trip to Quebec for their returns.