Tim Bozon is trying to stay patient but, with the way the WHL season has progressed, it hasn't been easy.
Bozon has been held off the scoresheet in each of the Kamloops Blazers' four games this season, a fact that isn't lost on the 19-year-old winger. He'll try to get on track when the Blazers play host to the Victoria Royals on Friday and the Prince George Cougars on Saturday.
"A player like me, zero points in four games - that's really frustrating," said Bozon, who was born in the U.S. but has ties to Switzerland and plays internationally for France. "I'm looking forward to getting better.
"I'm the first player in the room who agrees that I have to be better. But it's going to come."
Kamloops is 1-3-0 to start the season and, as the calendar turns to October, the Blazers are getting ready for a more active schedule. Including Friday's game, they will play nine times in 16 days in what will be a 12-game October.
Although practice is always helpful, Bozon is looking forward to a few more games.
"When I first looked at the schedule, I told the boys that it's going to take a while to get going - three weeks, only games on weekends," he said. "After this weekend, it gets going. . . . It'll be better to keep us intense and it'll be better for all of us."
The Blazers don't feel as though their start is any cause for concern, nor does Bozon feel that his start is a cause for concern.
A lot is expected of Bozon, a third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL draft, in this, his third WHL season. As a rookie, he put up 71 points in 71 games, then added 91 points in 2012-13.
His only contribution to the scoresheet this season is a minor penalty, and he also is minus-4. He has yet to find the chemistry he had last season with linemates Colin Smith and JC Lipon - the trio combined for 286 points in 2012-13.
Smith and Lipon are with AHL teams now, and expected to stay with them.
"Our group is a lot younger, lots of new faces," Bozon said. "I have to adjust myself to that - it's a new role.
"I have to be patient and make sure I don't get angry early. I know it's going to come for us."
Bozon hasn't been a two-time 36-goal-scorer because of luck, however.
He is a quality producer, and no one expects him to continue struggling. In fact, he has only been held off the scoresheet for four straight games once in his career - between Dec. 16 and 28, 2011, in the middle of his rookie season.
He has never been shut down for five straight games, and is confident that it won't happen Friday.
"I've got to adjust myself to the new things here," Bozon said. "I'm frustrated but, first of all, I'm looking to get chances and once I get the chances I'll put them in the net."
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he Blazers were without two forwards at practice on Monday.
Tyson Ness, 20, didn't practise because he was taking a maintenance day, said Blazers head coach Dave Hunchak.
Devin Oakes, meanwhile, is out with what the team is calling an "upper-body" injury.
"He's getting evaluated," Hunchak said. "Hopefully we'll know more later this week."
Oakes, 18, made his season debut in Friday's 5-2 victory in Prince George, and was involved in a second-period fight with Cougars winger Brett Roulston.
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unchak had the Blazers skating in practice on Monday to teach them a lesson about the bad penalties they took in Prince George.
Hunchak had the players taking four-person shifts to emulate a penalty kill. The players - including the goaltenders - skated up and down the ice without pucks, trading off in shifts throughout.
Blazers director of hockey/media administration Tim O'Donovan was running a scoreclock in the timekeepers' box, and kept a running tally of how many penalties there were. As the players went up and down - with short breaks between the two-minute "penalties" - the clock counted up, all the way to seven.
The eighth, and last, was a five-minute effort, likely to signify the checking from behind major Cole Ully took in the third period of Saturday's 3-1 loss in Prince George. The Blazers were on the penalty kill 14 times on the weekend, allowing only one goal.
"That was (punishment for) the variety of penalties we took - we didn't even skate the entire amount," Hunchak said. "That's something that has to be addressed and we'll take steps all week to do it."
The players caught Hunchak's message.
"Nobody wants to skate like that at the end of practice," Bozon said. "I think that's a good message to the players to make sure we play the way we want - defensively and with discipline. We can't expect to win games when we spend (that much) time in the penalty box."
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JUST NOTES: Friday's and Saturday's games, both at Interior Savings Centre, are scheduled for 7 p.m. . . . The Royals and Cougars are both 2-3-0. . . . Victoria is to play in Prince George tonight and Wednesday. . . . Victoria D Joe Hicketts, who is from Kamloops, missed two games with an "upper-body" injury, but returned for Saturday's 4-3 shootout victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. Hicketts had an assist in the victory.