Everett Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams wouldn’t call his team’s 1-2-0 start a colossal letdown, nor a major success.
He’s trying to keep things in perspective.
“I think thus far, I’m really happy with our group,” Williams said. “It’s something that we are going to build off of and take steps each weekend and see the improvement each weekend. We didn’t start the way we wanted … but it’s a far cry from now to the 68th game and the playoffs. As long as we see improvement, that’s what we look for.”
A lack of offensive production hamstrung Everett over the three-game set to open the season. Take away a three-goal second period during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Portland and the Silvertips lit the lamp just twice.
Some of it was due to a lack of bodies. Everett dressed just 10 forwards during Saturday’s home opener due to injuries to Peter Melcher, Reece Vitelli and Luke Ormsby, as well as a three-game suspension issued to Dawson Butt.
But the chances were still there. It’s just a matter of burying them.
“We didn’t play bad hockey games,” Williams said. “There were moments there where we just weren’t scoring goals. There were some really good looks in those Vancouver games that could have easily been the other way around.”
The Silvertips didn’t work on their special teams once before the season, and Williams said Thursday’s practice was reserved for installing Everett’s power play and special teams units. Everett was 2-for-16 on the power play, but limited the opposition to only one goal in 12 chances over the three games.
Williams ecstatic about leadership group
Sean Richards (1998 forward), Sahvan Khaira (1998 defenseman), Jake Christiansen (1999 defenseman) and Wyatt Wylie (1999 defenseman) were named assistant captains on Wednesday, joining assistant captain Riley Sutter (1999 forward) and primary captain Connor Dewar. Dewar and Sutter will wear letters the entire season, while the other four will switch off, with Richards and Khaira wearing the ‘A’ at home and Christiansen and Wylie donning it on the road.
“We thought as a group that we had a number of great leaders. … We are excited to have a group of leaders this year instead of relying on two or three guys and seeing how they settle into those roles,” Williams said. “It’s leadership by committee.”
The decision may have been easier if it weren’t for the Silvertips acquiring Khaira in a trade with Swift Current in the offseason. The overage defenseman made an instant impact in Everett’s dressing room with his leadership intangibles and experience from the Broncos’ Memorial Cup run.
“It would be difficult not to (name him to the leadership group),” Williams said.
Forwards Ormsby (lower body) and Vitelli (upper body) skated at Silvertips practiced at the Bellingham Sportsplex this week, but Williams was unsure whether either would be active this weekend. Both are listed day-to-day.
Melcher (upper body) is week-to-week and Butt still has one game remaining on a suspension issued for a check to the head major penalty during the season-opener at Vancouver on Sept. 21.
Rasmussen still in Motor City
Tri-City center Michael Rasmussen is still in NHL training camp with Detroit and isn’t likely to play with the Americans on Saturday. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward was the No. 9 overall selection in the 2017 NHL draft and has an outside shot of sticking with the Red Wings this season.
Defenseman Dylan Anderson was reassigned to Yale Hockey Academy Prep on Friday, reducing the Silvertips roster to 25 players (15 forwards, eight defenseman and two goalies).