Josiah Didier's Attitude Sits Well with IceCaps
Date: Mar 24, 2017
They also serve who sit and wait.
That’s a positional variation on an old saying, but whether the person doing the waiting is standing or sitting, it’s never that easy.
Certainly not as easy as Josiah Didier lets on.
For more than seven weeks this season, between Jan. 18 and the 11th of this month, the St. John’s IceCaps defenceman was mostly a healthy scratch. He did get into a game on Feb. 5 against the Hershey Bears, and even scored a goal, and he had a brief assignment to the ECHL’s Brampton Beast, but mostly he found himself in seat in the press box at Mile One Centre and other rinks around the American Hockey League.
But after getting back into the lineup 10 days ago, he’s playing like he never wants that upstairs perch again. Didier has a plus-five rating in the three games since, all IceCaps wins, and has shown himself a willing, able and dependable shot-blocker.
“That’s why he hasn’t missed a beat. It’s his attitude. It’s his work ethic. It’s his professionalism,” said IceCaps head coach Sylvain Lefebvre, whose team continues a long homestand with games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight and Wednesday. “He doesn’t complain. It says it all about the kid. He knew his time would come and he’s making the most of that time.”
When asked about all that other time as a healthy scratch, the 23-year-old Didier offered up some of that attitude to which his coach referred, saying that even though he wasn’t playing, he still had a job to do.
“Staying positive, working my butt off in practice, pushing my teammates to get better,” said the 23-year-old native of Littleton, Colo.
When it was suggested maintaining that demeanor couldn’t have been easy, Didier nodded.
“It’s always hard. It’s always hard not being (being in the lineup),” he said. “But it’s about (maintaining) that positive attitude I was talking about and working hard every single day.
A fourth-round draft choice of the Montreal Canadiens in 2011, the University of Denver product has been operating on an AHL contract in his two season with the IceCaps, and although you won’t find anyone to declare it officially, that puts him behind players on entry-level NHL deals on the organizational depth chart. But his play — including some late-game self-sacrifice Saturday as he jumped in front of a shot to preserve Charlie Lindgren’s shutout against the Rochester Americans — is a reminder that nobody should be comfortable with their status.
“Blocking shots on those one-timers, (showing) he’s willing to pay the price for his teammates, that’s really important,” said Lefebvre. “It’s party of the culture you are trying to implement as a team and as an organization. “A guy like Dids, the way he presents himself every day, with a work ethic that is one of the best on the team, showing he’s ready to jump in and do the job … that’s important for other guys to see and remember.”