Help has arrived, but is it enough?

The cavalry has arrived for the Silvertips. Defensemen Mirco Mueller (World Junior Hockey Championships), Kevin Davis and Noah Juulsen (U-17 World Hockey Challenge) have returned from international duty. All three arrived back in Everett on Monday and practiced today, so they should be good to go for Wednesday’s home game against Portland.

Also practicing today was newly-acquired forward Remi Laurencelle. The 18-year-old, who was acquired from Lethbridge on Sunday for a pair of bantam draft picks, skated with the team for the first time. He’s also available for Wednesday’s game, though he still isn’t up to speed with Everett’s systems yet.

The healthy bodies arrive at a desperate time for the Tips as the injury bug has once again struck. Defenseman Matt Pufahl, who started Saturday’s game at Spokane despite being questionable because of a foot injury, picked up an unrelated injury early in Saturday’s game as he suffered damaged cartilage in his ribs. He’ll miss a minimum of one-to-two weeks.

And the Tips have several other walking wounded, too. Leading scorer Joshua Winquist, who returned Saturday following a concussion, made it through the game fine as far as the concussion is concerned. However, he’s now nursing a groin issue, and he didn’t practice today. Nor did winger Tyler Sandhu, who’s dealing with both illness and a sore back. Finally, defenseman Austin Adam tried to practice today, but eventually hobbled off because of multiple bumps and bruises. They joined center Manraj Hayer, who remains out because of a concussion, in the stands.

The jury’s still out regarding Winquist, Sandhu and Adam for Wednesday’s game, but it’s possible Everett will still be unable to field a full lineup, despite the addition of four fresh bodies. Yikes!

Meanwhile, Portland is nearing full strength. Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, center Nicolas Petan and winger Taylor Leier, who all played for Canada at World Juniors, are reportedly back in Portland and will play Wednesday. In addition, winger Brendan Leipsic has completed his seven-game suspension and returns Wednesday. Defenseman Mathew Dumba, who was also a part of that Canadian team and has officially been reassigned to the Winterhawks by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, won’t be ready to play yet. Nevertheless, the Tips will have pretty much a full-strength Portland team to contend with.

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