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Shootouts, Schenn and other musings

Mark Stone (left) has been sharp in shootouts this season. His Brandon Wheat Kings teammates? Not so much.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Mark Stone (left) has been sharp in shootouts this season. His Brandon Wheat Kings teammates? Not so much.

Some notes and quotes while wondering how rough the next flood of the century will be on the Wheat City Golf Course this spring ...

Considering that the Brandon Wheat Kings rarely work on the shootout in practice, is it any surprise they are the worst shootout team in the Western Hockey League?

The Wheat Kings dropped to 0-7 in shootouts this season in a 2-1 loss to the Red Deer Rebels last Friday night. The shootout setback spoiled what was otherwise an outstanding effort by Brandon. Wheat Kings shooters are now a dismal 5-for-21 in shootouts -- Mark Stone has been Brandon's best sniper with three goals in four attempts -- while Wheat King netminders have been burned for 16 goals on 24 shots. The Wheat Kings have now wasted seven possible points as a result of shootout losses and -- surprise, surprise -- sit seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

"Whether you win in a shootout or lose in a shootout is tremendously important in terms of the standings," Wheat Kings coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon told Rob Henderson of the Sun after Friday's game.

Of course, no amount of shootout work would have made any difference for the Wheat Kings in their last game when they were embarrassed 9-0 by the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night.

The best team in the league in the shootout? Surprisingly, the Regina Pats, who also aren't in playoff position, have won eight of nine shootouts, led by sniper Jordan Weal (8-for-9 in shootout shots) ...

Former Wheat King centre Brayden Schenn, acquired by Saskatoon in a blockbuster deal for a package of prime picks and prospects at the WHL's Jan. 10 trade deadline, is expected to make his Blades debut Saturday night in Saskatoon versus the Calgary Hitmen.

Schenn, who has been recovering from a separated shoulder suffered in the world junior championship, will return to the Wheat City to face his former team for the first time on Tuesday, Feb. 15 ...

The Lethbridge Hurricanes will don commemorative jerseys when they play host to the Wheat Kings on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes' new duds will honour the old Lethbridge Maple Leafs, who won the 1951 world hockey championship in Paris ...

Brandon-born former Wheat King Matt Calvert -- who shared the captaincy with Schenn last season -- is the fourth member of Brandon's 2010 Memorial Cup team to make his NHL debut this season after being called up from the AHL by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Schenn (Los Angeles Kings), defenceman Alexander Urbom (New Jersey Devils) and blue-liner Travis Hamonic (New York Islanders) have also played NHL games this season. In fact, Hamonic has played in 25 straight games since being recalled by the Islanders, regularly seeing more than 20 minutes of ice time per game and even drawing power-play duty. Former Wheat Kings captain Keith Aulie (Toronto Maple Leafs) and feisty forward Ryan Reaves (St. Louis Blues) also made their NHL debuts this season ...

It's been a tough season for some other former Wheat Kings and Westman-area players in the NHL. The latest to join the injured list was Florida Panthers captain Bryan McCabe, who suffered a broken jaw last Saturday. Also out are Washington Capitals right-winger Eric Fehr (separated shoulder), Vancouver Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome (sprained knee ligaments) and Devils defenceman Bryce Salvador (concussion), while Nashville Predators right-winger Jordin Tootoo entered the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program on Dec. 27. Salvador, who was born in Brandon, has yet to play since being injured in the pre-season. "I'm definitely frustrated that it's been this long," Salvador told Eric Marin of devils.com ...

Former Wheat King left-winger Wheaton King -- released on Jan. 10 -- and fellow former WHLer D. Jay McGrath set up a goal by Wheaton's brother Sanfred King -- cut by Brandon at the start of last season -- in the Kindersley Klippers' 6-2 triumph over the Nipawin Hawks in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League on Wednesday. The star of the game was former Wheat King prospect Johnny Calkins, who had a goal and three assists ... Brandon native Brayden Cuthbert, a 16-year-old rookie centre with the Moose Jaw Warriors, fired his second career WHL goal in a 4-0 triumph over Lethbridge on Wednesday.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 21, 2011 B1

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Some notes and quotes while wondering how rough the next flood of the century will be on the Wheat City Golf Course this spring ...

Considering that the Brandon Wheat Kings rarely work on the shootout in practice, is it any surprise they are the worst shootout team in the Western Hockey League?

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Some notes and quotes while wondering how rough the next flood of the century will be on the Wheat City Golf Course this spring ...

Considering that the Brandon Wheat Kings rarely work on the shootout in practice, is it any surprise they are the worst shootout team in the Western Hockey League?

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