The Brandon Wheat Kings are hoping to add veteran reinforcements to the lineup this week.
Forward Jason Swyripa (wrist) and defenceman Rene Hunter (leg) both took part in a full practice Monday as the Wheat Kings (8-7-2-1) prepared to play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds (8-7-1-0) tonight in Western Hockey League action at Westman Place (7 o’clock start).
"(Swyripa) practised today and we are going to see how (his wrist) reacts and it will be a game-time decision," said Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk. "Rene will be a game-time decision as well. Both of them practised today and we will see how (their injuries) react to it and we’ll see what the day brings."
Swyripa said it has been agonizing not being able to help out his teammates while sitting out the past eight games.
"It’s obviously tough when you are not in the game with the guys and watching from afar is a lot different from playing and you really wish that you were on the ice helping the team out," said Swyripa, who has two goals, five points and +2 plus/minus rating in 10 games this season. "Especially over the past week when I feel a lot better now and feel that I can contribute to the team, you want to be out there."
Gylywoychuk said getting the two 19-year-olds back this week would be a boost to the lineup.
"If we can get them back some time this week — and we don’t know that for sure — I think any time you put veteran players back in the lineup, it’s an added bonus for sure," he said. "I think it will only make us better because we’ve had some young guys play some minutes for us in some situations and now they will be ready to play at all times for us. So I think in the long run it makes us a better team."
Rookie Czech forward Richard Nejezchleb was the only player who sat out practice Monday as he continues to nurse a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the lineup for nine games now. Gylywoychuk said Nejezchleb is still two weeks away.
The Wheat Kings have split the first two games of this five-game home stand, battling back to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 last Friday night before falling 4-2 to the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday night. The Wheat Kings are looking to get back on track tonight versus the Thunderbirds before closing out the home stand this weekend with a Friday night matchup against the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Sunday’s Remembrance Day clash with the Swift Current Broncos.
ICINGS: Tri-City C Justin Feser was named WHL player of the week Monday after firing five goals and assisting on three others while posting a +7 plus/minus rating as the Americans went 3-0-0-0 on the road ... Tonight is the Wheat Kings’ first ‘2-for-Tuesday’ promotion, featuring 2-for-1 tickets and $2 drinks, hot dogs and popcorn.