It’s only been a couple of weeks since the WHL trade deadline passed, but already the two deals made by Tri-City Americans GM Bob Tory look to be win-wins for the teams involved.
Ams fans have seen the dividends paid by the additions of F Carter Ashton and D Matt MacKenzie, but the players dealt away have proven to be assets for their new teams.
An analysis on the WHL blog Small Thoughts at Large (stats through Tuesday’s games) shows that Tanner Olstad and Nils Moser in Regina, and Brooks Macek and Spencer Humphries in Calgary, also have had immediate impacts.
Isn’t that the mark of a good trade — one that benefits both teams?
Another post on the blog shows the Ams scouting staff will earn its money this spring — Tri-City doesn’t have a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s bantam draft.
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The Ams’ 12-game home winning streak is the second longest in the franchise’s history, only two off the single-season record set at the end of the 2006-07 campaign and eight off the overall mark of 20 that includes the team winning its first six home games of the ’07-08 season.
While fans revel in the team’s home-ice success — outscoring opponents 70-20 during the streak — coach Jim Hiller said it hasn’t been a topic of discussion in the dressing room.
“No, we just have to play well and win hockey games. That’s our one and only focus,” Hiller said Thursday after a quick team meeting, giving the players a much-deserved day off after games on back-to-back nights.
He said the lack of talk about the streak had nothing to do with superstition — a la a baseball player remaining silent about a no-hitter while it is in progress.
“Streaks are only a product of how well and how consistent you play,” he said. “We’ve been playing well, hounding the puck, being consistent at home.”
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If the Ams are to continue their home streak this weekend — they host Everett on Saturday and Kelowna on Sunday — they’ll do so without three of their regulars.
D Sam Grist suffered a possible concussion during Tuesday’s loss at Portland, and Hiller said the team is being cautious with the 17-year-old rookie.
“He had his bell rung, so we’ll walk through the concussion protocol with him,” Hiller said.
F Jordan Messier also is recovering from a concussion after a head blow in last Tuesday’s win over Seattle, and while he is progressing, “with concussions you can never tell,” Hiller said. “It’s a slow process and different for everybody.”
F Neal Prokop, meanwhile, has a deep bone bruise in his left leg and remained on crutches after Wednesday’s win over Kamloops. He said he is doing better but didn’t expect to play this weekend.
With the Ams down to 17 skaters, Tory called up D Clint Atkinson from Salmon Arm of the Junior A British Columbia Hockey League for this weekend’s games. Atkinson is a former sixth-round pick for Moose Jaw who played in 88 career games for the Warriors. He’s having a solid season for the Silverbacks — his 35 assists rank 12th among league leaders and second among defensemen.
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Tri-City goalie prospect Eric Comrie, the team’s first-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft, has been named to the Team Alberta roster for next month’s Canada Winter Games. The selection of Comrie, who plays for the L.A. Selects Midget 16 AAA team, created some controversy, according to one blog.