These are all winnable games. Seattle has lost 14 straight. Lethbridge is essentially a .500 team. And Vancouver has the league's worst record. This is an opportunity for the Tips to not only take some strides in their efforts to transform their playing style, but also solidify their position as a playoff team.
The first of those games will be seen by a regional audience. Friday's game is being broadcast live on television by ROOT Sports. It is the first of two Everett games that will be televised this season. The other game is Mar. 13 at Spokane.
However, Everett will have to try and pull things off this weekend while being thin on defense. Overager Connor Cox is having lingering effects with his neck injury and is going through the concussion protocol, meaning he's highly doubtful for this weekend. Also, Mirco Mueller is jetlagged. Mueller won't get back into town from the CHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax, Nova Scotia, until tonight. This was after just returning from the World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia last week. Tips general manager Garry Davidson would like to give Mueller some time off, but with Cox out that may not be an option.
Everett's other option is to play Landon Oslanski on defense, as he did Tuesday with both Cox and Mueller unavailable. However, Oslanski continues to practice at forward, and I have yet to see him practice as a defenseman since last week's coaching change.
Take Cox, Mueller and Oslanski out of the equation and Everett's defense includes an 18-year-old rookie, three 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old. We'll see if the kids are up to the challenge.
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