Pietrus looking forward to Blaze return
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze forward Jordan Pietrus says the new Elite League season "can't come quick enough" as he returns to Coventry on a new two-year contract.
Speaking with Blaze Media Manager Rob Plaister, the 30-year-old said: "Obviously we are looking forward to being home and seeing our folks and friends in the US and Canada but August will soon be here. It's going to be a big summer of preparation and training to make sure I'm ready to get back on the ice and compete for a Championship come training camp. The new season can't come quick enough!"
Pietrus signed for the Blaze last October ahead of the club's Continental Cup campaign, initially on a one-month trial contract before impressing coaching staff, management and fans with his exceptional attitude, strong work ethic and goal-scoring touch earning him a season long-extension. The 5'10" winger went on to play 55 games, posting 46 points including a team high of 27 goals.
"It took me a little longer then I would have liked to get my legs under me and get my confidence up," reflected the Winnipeg native. "However, once I grew accustomed to the guys, the scheduling and travel, I became more and more comfortable and confident on the ice."
When Pietrus does return, it will be to play under a new Head Coach with the recent departure of Chuck Weber and arrival of popular Blaze figure, Danny Stewart.
"I have read and heard good things about Danny," said Pietrus. "A few years ago, he and I had conversations about me going to Fife but it didn't end up working out. We spoke last week before I left town and had a great chat about his expectations and things he would like bring to the team next year. From what I hear he is a good guy and as a player he was tough to play against. I imagine he is going to bring a lot of the elements that made him successful as a player to our team as a coach. I am excited for the prospects of next season and the opportunity to play for Danny.”
The Blaze had a low key start to last season before putting together an improved run of results leading them to reach the Elite League Playoff final for a second season running. Pietrus, now fully accustomed to the importance of the Elite League regular season Championship says with a solid core of returnees, the club must get off to a better start this time around.
"When I came to the team in October the guys were struggling to win and produce offensively. I think the two went hand-in-hand and it took us a while after I got here to find our identity as a team and not only defend well but also put points on the board."
Pietrus continued: "You can’t win games unless you are scoring goals, competing and playing strong defence. It's extremely important we hit the ground running this season in everything we do. Getting off to a strong start is key in positioning ourselves to compete for a Championship at the end of the year. I'm confident Danny and Ash (Ashley Tait) will make sure we are ready and prepared for the season beginning with training camp."
On his preparations and summer activities, the Blaze number 16 who scooped up numerous awards at the club's end of season event including Forward of the Year and Booster Club/Blue Army Player of the Season concluded:
"No question I am going to enjoy the summer back home with Shannon (Jordan's wife) and our families. However, after some thought there are some areas of my game I'd like to work on, so I will use the summer to improve on those areas. It's also important to rejuvenate mentally and emotionally and get myself as strong, fast and well-conditioned physically as I can for next year.
"My goal is to get a little better every day, and hopefully those small gains will generate results for myself and the team next season."
Watch Jordan talk about his decision to sign a two-year extension with Blaze (March 2016):