IceCaps represent opportunity for the steady on-ice employment he wants and needs
Adam Pardy sees the opportunity to ply his trade in his home province as a bit of a bonus.
But make no mistake, it’s the promise of regular work that really has him looking forward to suiting up for the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps
© Photo by Boris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press
In this Sept. 26, 2013 photo, Winnipeg Jets’ defenceman Adam Pardy fends off Boston Bruins’ forward Gregory Campbell during NHL pre-season game in Winnipeg. Pardy was assigned to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps earlier this week.
“I haven’t played a whole lot of games lately,” said the 29-year-old defenceman from Bonavista Tuesday after his first practice with the IceCaps at Mile One Centre.
“Two years ago in Dallas, with injuries and everything, I just got into around 35 games. Last year, with the lockout, it was less than 40 in total.
“That’s not enough games. Four or five games here and there, is not enough to get going, to get where you need to be.
“It was way too much practice time, let’s put it that way.
“I need to get back to playing and this is a real opportunity to do that.”
“It’s the only way to look at it.”
Pardy finds himself in St. John’s after spending the first week of the National Hockey League season in Winnipeg with the parent Jets, who had signed him to a one-year, one-way $600,000 free-agent contract over the summer.
But he knew he wasn’t going to stay in Winnipeg. Pardy had already cleared waivers and only remained on the Jets’ roster as insurance while fellow blueliner Grant Clitsome recovered an injury.
For Pardy, who had to once again satisfied with just practising and watching games from the press box, it was sort of like having an appointment for a root canal postponed. Part of him appreciated the opportunity to stay in ‘The Show,’ if only temporarily. The other part of him wanted to get it all over with.
“You always wanted to be positive. And your support team — your friends and family — are going to say ‘Keep your head up’ and ‘At least you’re still there (in the NHL),” said Pardy.
“But when it’s temporary and you know it’s temporary, it’s tough. It’s waking up every day and going to a job you know you’re going to be leaving in a matter of time.
“But like I said, I want to stay positive. If things can go this way, they can just as quickly flip and go the other way.
“Ultimately, it all comes back on you and attitude is a big part of that.”
So are the fortunes of the game. Pardy isn’t wishing for injuries among his Jets brethren, but after eight pro season, 200 games in the NHL and nearly as many in the AHL, he know they’re bound to occur.
“It’s pretty safe to say injuries are going to happen. You don’t usually see teams end the season with all the same players they started with,” he said. “It’s part of hockey.”
Not that he’s counting on being the first re-hired because he was the last to be let go by the Jets.
“I’ve learned it doesn’t always work that way,” he said.
“”And it shouldn’t”
“If you’re not doing your thing and staying ready, you’re not going to be the first one going up because you were the last one sent down.
“They’re not going to look at you at all.”
The Jets are Pardy’s fourth NHL organization. He started with the Calgary Flames, signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars and got traded to the Buffalo Sabres a little over a year ago.
He’s a journeyman, with an emphasis on the journey part.
“You have to realize where you’re at in your career, the way things have gone in the past three years, bouncing around. It’s something that’s not very much fun,” he said.
“You think back to all the things that could have turned out differently if you’d gone down a different path, if I had stayed in Calgary, for example. You could run all that through your head, but you don’t know how it would have really turned out.
“It’s just hindsight and I don’t look that way.”
Instead, he’s looking forward to playing with St. John’s, which is preparing for its first road games of the young AHL season this weekend in Hamilton and Toronto.
“Down here. I’m going to get a lot of minutes. A lot of time to play, a lot of time to work on parts of my game that aren’t as sharp as they were when I was only playing a game or two every couple of weeks,” he said..
“I’m excited to get going, to start playing here.”
He doesn’t think of himself as a token Newfoundlander on the IceCaps, a replacement for recently retired Corner Brook native Jason King, but he is embracing the chance to play at home.
“It’s a bit of situation, but it will be fun, I think,” said Pardy, who added the fact he was from Newfoundland never came up in off-season discussions with the Jets.
“I’m excited to be playing anywhere, but it will be special because it’s here and hopefully, the fans will be excited to see me.
“I know what it’s like around here. I know the buzz and how they love the team.
“Having that good atmosphere is going to nake it easier.
“As much as it sucks being sent down, as much as I want to get back there, this is still going to be pretty fun. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
And pretty familiar.
Pardy maintains his off-season home in St. John’s, so on arriving Monday night, he just had to turn a key and “unpack the clothes.”
There was even a pot of turkey soup in the fridge, courtesy of his dad.
“(My parents) were in this week and I think he made it up for me.
“It was nice. It really made me feel at home.”