EVERETT — It required a spate of injuries to prompt the Everett Silvertips to sew an “A” onto Reid Petryk’s jersey.
But now Petryk is leading the way for the Tips, both in spirit and production.
Petryk has become one of Everett’s most influential players in recent weeks, and it just happens to correspond with his elevation to the position as one of Everett’s alternate captains.
“He’s been real good, in every area,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said of Petryk. “Obviously he’s chipping in with points, but that’s not what’s making him effective right now. He’s doing all the little things. He’s hard to play against, he’s physical, he’s responsible. Then you get rewarded.
“It’s funny how when you work hard and compete, good things seem to happen. I tell our kids that luck always seems to side on side of the backbone, not the wishbone. He’s going out and doing all the little things, and the points are coming.”
Everett’s captaincy hasn’t had much luck this season. The Tips began the season with a captain and three alternates. However, captain Ryan Murray was lost for the season because of a torn labrum in his shoulder, overage winger Cody Fowlie was released to make room for defenseman Connor Cox and overage winger Ryan Harrison has missed time because of a knee injury. Ferner looked at his roster in mid-November and found center Manraj Hayer, who’s also missed time because of injury this season, was the only member of his captaincy still available.
Therefore, on Nov. 17 against Vancouver, Petryk and defenseman Nick Walters were each given an “A,” making them alternate captains.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Petryk said about being named an alternate. “I was pretty happy about it, and I just need to show my leadership on the ice and off the ice.
“Maybe I’m showing a little more leadership on the ice and working harder,” Petryk added about how being named an alternate has affected his game. “So the numbers are coming.”
Whatever the reason, Petryk has grown in influence in recent weeks. He’s played with increased intensity, and over the past 10 days he’s been on fire offensively. In Everett’s past four games, he has a goal and seven assists, including a pair of three-assist efforts. The three-point games were the first of Petryk’s career.
Petryk has been a modest scorer during his WHL career. Prior to his current streak he had just 77 points in 216 career games, including 20 in 32 games with the Tips last season after arriving from Medicine Hat at the trade deadline. But now, after a slow start, he suddenly finds himself tied with Landon Oslanski for the team lead in scoring with 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 32 games.
But despite the offensive outburst, Ferner is quick to point out that Petryk was playing well even before he began putting up offensive numbers. Petryk had three assists in Tuesday’s 7-5 loss at Portland, but Ferner was more pleased about Petryk being what he described as a “physical force” against the Winterhawks.
“Reid was still the same player, he just wasn’t getting the points,” Ferner. “Now he’s getting rewarded.
“Maybe (being named an alternate) has sparked him,” Ferner added. “Maybe he’s taking some more leadership, some more onus with the group. If it was that easy we’d ask the league if we could put a few more on guys. But he’s a good kid who works his butt off and does everything we want him to do.”
Petryk won’t be seeing his “A” transform into a “C” at any point this season — Ferner said Murray would remain the captain despite being out. But Petryk is determined to do whatever is required from a member of the captaincy.
“It’s been an unlucky year for us,” Petryk said. “A couple key guys have been out with injuries, so it puts a little more pressure on guys. But we just have to step up.”
The Tips lost yet another key player when center Kohl Bauml suffered a shoulder injury during Tuesday’s game at Portland. X-rays showed no bone damage, but the extent of the injury won’t be known until Bauml undergoes a scan next week. Bauml’s 10 goals rank second on the team. He joins Murray, Harrison, Hayer, Walters and winger Joshua Winquist as key players who have missed significant time this season because of physical ailments. Walters remains out this weekend as a result of blows taken during a fight last weekend against Vancouver. However, there’s a possibility Harrison will return this weekend. Harrison has been out since Nov. 9 because of a torn meniscus in his knee.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.