The Silvertips skated two players short in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at Portland. The missing group included the team’s top two scoring forwards and an NHL-drafted defenseman. Today a total of just 15 players took part in optional practice, including just six forwards. The Tips head out tomorrow for three games in five days at Tri-City and Spokane, and the question remains: Do the Tips have enough players for this road trip?
Here’s a player-by-player rundown of everyone’s status.
– Everett will get defenseman Nick Walters back for Friday’s game at Tri-City. Walters has completed his three-game suspension for his high hit on Spokane’s Mitch Holmberg, so he’ll add a body to the mix, though he doesn’t address the shortage up front.
– Winger Joshua Winquist, the team’s leading goal scorer, is out for a while. It was revealed that Winquist, who’s been out sick, has mononucleosis. Coach Mark Ferner said Winquist will be out three weeks. That’s a big loss for a Tips team that’s thin at forward.
– Center Manraj Hayer, tied with Winquist for the team lead in scoring among forwards, was among those who practiced today, but he is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Ferner said Hayer was doubtful for this weekend’s games. He will make the trip, however.
– Winger Trent Lofthouse didn’t practice today, but he’s also considered day-to-day because of a lower-body injury. He will also make the trip.
– Defenseman Austin Adam (broken hand) won’t make the trip, but he is nearing a return. Adam is scheduled to have his cast removed Monday, and Ferner said Adam should be ready to return shortly after.
– With the team carrying just 12 forwards and dealing with injuries up front, the Tips have brought in Brandon Bruce from the BCHL to provide cover. Bruce, a 19-year-old from Cranbrook, B.C., was playing for the Merritt Centennials, where in 15 games he had three goals, two assists and 19 penalty minutes. He played 34 games for the Swift Current Broncos in 2010-11. He stands at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.
Everett is in the midst of a brutal stretch of four games in five nights in four different cities, against opponents that currently have a combined record of 46-14-2-2. The Tips are just hoping they return home in one piece.
One last note. I’ve been informed that our CoverItLive account has been extended through November. That means at least another month of live blogs! So be here Friday night for the live blog of the game against the Americans.