Wisconsin men’s hockey coach Mike Eaves made clear in his weekly press conference Monday that his team was in search of an identity two days after it failed to complete a road sweep against lowly Alaska Anchorage.
More specifically, Eaves again bemoaned the team’s effort in its Saturday night loss, which resulted in another drop in the polls to No. 7 in the country.
“We have been inconsistent in that area,” Eaves said, referring to team effort. “The way that we played Saturday was … not to the identity that we want to have. This is something that we need to once again address.
“In the world of sport, you’ve got to have a certain mentality in how you have to play and play to a certain identity,” Eaves added. “There’s an element of effort and heart that have to be your foundation. That is something that we will continue to address as we move forward in the young season.”
Still, Eaves gave the impression that he was satisfied with how the Badgers (3-2-1 WCHA, 4-4-2 overall) have weathered a mean streak of injuries early in the season.
“We haven’t broken apart here,” Eaves said. “We’ve stayed together, we’ve got some points, which has been really important that we get points through this stretch.”
Eaves shed some light on the status of the top two returning scorers from last season, who were injured in the Badgers’ first conference game Oct. 13.
Senior forward Ross Carlson (knee) traveled with the team to Anchorage and is likely to return to action this weekend at the Kohl Center against Denver.
Farther away from returning is sophomore forward Jack Skille (elbow). Eaves said Skille has been able to handle the puck and pass, but has yet to shoot.
“If he can pass that test, we’ll be closer to getting him back,” Eaves said.
The head coach classified Skille as doubtful for this weekend and probable for the Minnesota series.