LYNNWOOD – On Thursday, Everett Silvertips coach Kevin Constantine accepted his punishment for his role in busgate.
After a day to absorb the news, his players also showed acceptance of the four-game ban and $5,000 fine the Western Hockey League slapped their coach for forcing them to remain in their gear for several hours following a preseason loss on Sunday
“I think whatever the league says is the way it goes,” center Zach Hamill said. “You can always have your own opinion, but they call the shots, that’s why they’re there.”
Added defenseman Cody Thoring: “The league, it’s their call, whatever they want or whatever they think. It’s hard to say, I guess. It’s a lot of money and four games is a pretty big suspension. But if they think it’s wrong, then it’s a good call.”
After Everett lost to Tri-City 5-0 Sunday night at the Tri-City Preseason Tournament, Constantine had the players stay in their gear for the postgame meal and the four-hour bus ride home. The purpose was to send a message to the players, who Constantine felt put forth a poor effort.
The unusual punishment was not what the players were expecting.
“It kind of surprised us,” defenseman Jason Fransoo said. “But the staff wasn’t impressed with our work. They demand a lot out of us and we didn’t put in a solid effort, so that’s what happened.”
Added Thoring: “We knew we played horrible and we knew there would be repercussions. It’s one thing to lose, it’s another thing to lose and not care, not show that you care on the ice. It’s just his way of dealing with it and that was that.”
For many of the players it was the first time experiencing disciplinary action of that nature. But for others it was nothing new.
“I’ve definitely had things like that in the past,” Fransoo said. “Back in Midget AAA I had experiences like that. Coaches made decisions like that back when I played on the (Saskatoon) Contacts. It got us going and all those years we had winning seasons, so in the end things came out good.”
Exhibition finale: Everett’s final tuneup for the regular season takes place today when the Silvertips face the Seattle Thunderbirds in their final exhibition game. The game, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the Kent Valley Ice Centre, is the last chance for the Tips to get things in order before their season opener next Saturday at Chilliwack.
“We go into every game the same way, go work hard and play our systems and play as a team,” Hamill said. “That’s what we’re going to do (today) and hopefully we’ll be ready to go next week when the real games start.”
Everett is 2-3 in the preseason so far, with both victories coming in shootouts. In those five games Everett has scored 13 goals and given up 21, not exactly the type of numbers one would expect from the U.S. Division favorite.
However, Everett has generally fielded younger teams than its opponents, and two of the team’s biggest stars – center Peter Mueller and goaltender Leland Irving – remain away at NHL camps. Right wing Moises Gutierrez also remains sidelined because of a knee injury.
“We have to figure out how to play as a team and win as a team,” Thoring said. “We definitely haven’t dominated anybody and we’d like to play like we can play, and we haven’t done that yet. So hopefully (today) we can play some Silvertips hockey and win by more than a shootout.”
Slap shots: Right wing Brady Calla is back after his stint at rookie camp with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Calla, who was taken in the third round of the NHL draft this year, participated in a tournament held in Toronto, where he played on a line that included Moose Jaw star Kenndal McArdle. … Defenseman Graham Potuer was back on the ice Friday. Potuer hadn’t practiced since returning from San Jose’s rookie camp, both because he was still feeling the effects of an ear infection and because the Sharks hadn’t shipped his equipment back yet. … The Regina Leader-Post reported that Everett general manager Doug Soetaert was seen attending a Pats exhibition game and chatting with Regina general manager Brent Parker. That fueled speculation that Everett may be attempting to land one of Regina’s defensemen in a trade.