Who Suits Up for the Silvertips Today?
Everett's injury crisis continues, and once again the Tips find themselves checking under every leaf, rock and twig, searching for enough players to field a full lineup.
Everett has eight players listed on this week's injury report. Those injuries and illnesses forced the Tips to play two skaters short in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to Kamloops, and icing a complete lineup remains an issue for Everett.
"It's certainly ongoing," Everett general manager Garry Davidson said about the continuing efforts to locate enough healthy bodies.
"It's funny how it goes," Davidson added. "There are some years where you don't get nicked up at all, or everything is very minor. But there's years where it just seems to stack up. This is probably a little more extensive than I've seen, but it is what it is. You just have to deal with it, it's part of the game."
Davidson has spent plenty of time scouring of the lower levels in search of healthy bodies this season. Everett has two players on its rosters -- forwards Brayden Low and Logan Aasman -- who were picked up as free agents and called up because of roster shortages, then stuck with the team. Two others, winger Mitch Skapski and defenseman Micheal Zipp, were Everett prospects who were called up for good midway through the season. Even goaltender Daniel Cotton, who's shouldering the load with No. 1 Austin Lotz out with a sprained ankle, was originally acquired on an emergency basis.
Now, Davidson has added three players to the roster for tonight's game at Kamloops.
The only completely new name is goaltender Adam Todd. Everett once again found itself in a bind in goal as 15-year-old Nik Amundrud, who was called up to serve as the back-up for last weekend's games, was needed by his midget team, the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, for key games this week. With Lotz still out, Everett needed yet another back-up, so Todd was brought in from the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League. The 18-year-old Todd was Saskatoon's No. 3 goalie last season. Todd becomes the third goalie to serve as back-up since Lotz was injured in practice Jan. 28, joining Amundrud and local product Bryce Fink.
The two other roster additions have appeared for Everett in the past. Defenseman Kevin Davis, the team's first-round pick in last year's bantam draft and a Kamloops resident, will play tonight. This will be the fifth game for Davis, which reaches the limit for 15-year-olds. However, history indicates the WHL is willing to make exceptions to the five-game rule when teams are dealing with a large number of injuries. The other addition is 16-year-old winger Kyle Raymond, who appeared in two games earlier this season.
Todd and Raymond likely will return to Everett with the team for the weekend. Davis will remain in Kamloops.
"Injuries are part of it and you just roll with the punches," Davidson said. "The other night we played with 16 skaters, and you have to do that sometimes. Fortunately, our guys responded pretty well. The 16 of them I thought worked really hard and played very well as a group. They pulled together pretty well."
The good news for Everett is that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Tips get one player back tonight as center Kohl Bauml, who missed Saturday's game because of illness, skated in practice Wednesday and is ready to return. Winger Tyler Sandhu, who's going through the concussion protocol, also practiced Wednesday. Sandhu won't play tonight, but it's hoped he will be available sometime this weekend.
Lotz and leading scorer Joshua Winquist didn't practice Wednesday. However, Davidson said both were making progress, and he was hoping both would at least be able to return to practice as early as next week.
"Lotz is improving nicely," Davidson said. "We hope by Monday or Tuesday next week we get word that he will be able to get back into it. I don't know how many starts, but at least get back out here.
"(Winquist) looks like he's improving, and he told me today he's hoping he can be on the ice by Monday," Davidson added. "He's heading in the right direction, too."
The news wasn't quite as good for defenseman Austin Adam. Adam has been out with what was thought to be lingering concussion symptoms. However, it was discovered Adam has mononucleosis, which may have been causing those symptoms. Winger Lucas Grayson also remains unavailable, despite participating in practices, as he's likely to have his lower-body injury re-evaluated. Defenseman Ayrton Nikkel (finger) remains a long-term casualty, and defenseman Ryan Murray (shoulder) is out for the season.
Check out Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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