Another Leader-Post Article.

I'm going to start getting my thoughts on my blog... one of these days. It's been kinda slow, especially since I haven't seen them play an opponent other than themselves... My thoughts coming very soon.

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Pats vets Leffler and Rowat focused on junior

By Greg Harder, The Leader-Post September 2, 2009

Hindsight being 20/20, Brett Leffler and Linden Rowat admit there might have been a time when they were guilty of looking at the future through rose-coloured glasses.

Now the view has changed.

While four other drafted members of the Regina Pats get ready to depart for NHL training camps on the weekend, Leffler and Rowat are gaining a new perspective on the business side of hockey as they prepare to stay behind for the first time in three years.

Unable to secure tryout invitations, the 20-year-old veterans -- like a lot of fellow overage players in the WHL -- are now focused on playing out their final season of junior eligibility in hopes of proving to the NHL watchdogs that they deserve another look.

"When you're drafted and stuff, most guys think they're on top of the world," Leffler said prior to Tuesday's practice at the Brandt Centre. "Sometimes you take things for granted. My goal is to have a good year and go out with a bang. I look back four years ago as a 16-year-old, I never thought it was going to go by this fast. I really can't take anything for granted this year. It's your last year to prove yourself. I'm really excited to get going."

Rowat concurred, noting that his eyes have been opened as well.

"You definitely see the business side of it," said the veteran netminder. "I definitely appreciate things a lot more. This is my fifth year in the league and it has flown by. I can't believe this is my last year of eligibility. The next step is pro so for that to happen I have to have a good year. I don't want to take anything for granted. I'm going to work as hard as I did when I was 16, proving myself. It all banks on this year. If I play hard and do my best, hopefully I'll get a shot from a couple different teams if they're willing to look at me."

Leffler and Rowat had everything in front of them after being selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL entry draft -- by the Washington Capitals and L.A. Kings, respectively. However, those clubs decided not to sign them early this summer, forcing both players to go back into the pool for the 2009 draft. After being passed over the second time around, making them free agents, Leffler and Rowat were invited to summer development camps (with the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators) in hopes of parlaying the experience into training camp invitations.

It didn't happen, but Leffler isn't dwelling on the past. He and Rowat are now among five players competing for three overage spots on the Pats' roster.

"It went well in Chicago," said the veteran power forward. "It's unfortunate I'm not going back there but that's done with now. I'm not looking back. I'm going to look forward and take the positives out of this year and whatever happens is going to happen. I know what I can do. It's just being consistent all the time, practice and in games. I have to play to my strengths. If I do that, we'll see."

Like Leffler, Rowat had a positive experience at his summer camp in Ottawa and received some strong feedback. However, with some changeover in the Senators' organization and two new goalies signed to minor-league contracts, he had a feeling his opportunity would have to come elsewhere.

"I was hoping to get a tryout somewhere," Rowat added. "I had a good camp in Ottawa but the chips didn't fall my way. I'm a Regina Pat so I'm just gonna work hard, play hard for the boys and help bring them through while we're missing some key guys (due to NHL camps)."

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on September 02, 2009 by Kevin Shaw |