Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Silverbacks

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Salmon Arm Silverbacks
When: Nov. 9, 7:00 PM
Where: Sunwave Centre, Salmon Arm

For the second time in five days, the Smokies and Silverbacks go toe to toe at the Sunwave Centre. It will be a much different lineup tonight for Trail than the one that dropped a 7-4 decision in Salmon Arm on Saturday, as the dreaded injury bug has hit with force following a two-game road swing through the Okanagan/Shuswap over the weekend (more below in the "In the Press Box" segment).

What it means for Trail, is that potential Smokies of the future will get a chance to strut their stuff tonight. Two confirmed callups are Craig Martin (KIJHL Beaver Valley), who of course scored twice on the weekend, and 16 year-old defenseman Dane Birks (KIJHL Creston Valley), the son of Smokies bench boss Bill.

Reed Vogt is expected to get the start between the pipes as well after a sensational outing Sunday in Westside. The 18 year-old Lethbridge native stopped 33 shots in the 3-2 overtime win to collect his second victory of the season.

I chatted with head coach Bill Birks on Monday in advance of tonight's game, for that conversation click here. I also spoke with Sunday's OT hero, Clayton Chessa, following the game in Westside. To listen, click here.

New Face: Trail has added defenseman Shane Poulsen to the team's active roster. In 19 games this season with the KIJHL's Kamloops Storm, Poulsen scored 2 goals and totalled 16 points. The 17 year-old's 6-3 frame will add size to the back end. He's played 1 game in the BCHL this season, as an AP with Prince George.

Last Meeting: Devin Muller's four-point night paced the Silverbacks to a 7-4 win last Saturday at the Sunwave Centre. A wild first period saw Salmon Arm lead 4-3 after twenty minutes, but goals from Graham McBain and Alex Gillies early in the second period proved insurmountable, despite a 50-shot effort from Trail.

Our Opponent: The Silverbacks are hoping Saturday's win will provide some momentum to what has otherwise been a slow start. Three of Salmon Arm's four victories have come against Trail, and the Backs sit only three points up on the Smokies in the Interior Conference standings. Despite the likes of Morgan Zulinick, Bryce Gervais and Muller leading the charge offensively for Salmon Arm, bottom-six players like Mak Barden, Gillies, McBain and Kyle Oleniuk have been just as dangerous against Trail. The Silverbacks are a speedy bunch with a mobile defence, and on paper are better than their 4-9-0-4 record.

In the Press Box: Trail will be without forwards Kyle Horsman, Josh Roberts and Adam Fares as well as defencemen Brandon Egli and Tanner Hicks tonight. All are out injured. The Silverbacks will welcome back forward Jeff Kennedy after he served a one-game suspension Saturday night.

Broadcast Info: Scott Campbell will have your pay-per-view call this evening, as well as the free audio option. Both are available here.

Bits & Bites: Congrats to Nelson Leafs forward Patrick Martens. The 19 year-old was named the KIJHL Kootenay Conference Player of the Month earlier this week. I spoke with Martens Monday, to listen, click here. The Selkirk Saints picked up a pair of honours following a weekend sweep of Eastern Washington University. Goaltender Spenser Wong was named BCIHL Player of the Week, while forward Jordan Wood picked up Rookie of the Month honours. I chatted with Selkirk GM Jamie Friess earlier this week, listen here. Westside forward Shawn Hochhausen served the first of his two game suspension yesterday at Vernon. That penalty was incurred for the checking from behind major on Trail defenseman Nick Wong Sunday. Trail's Travis St. Denis and Castlegar's Aaron Hadley, along with their Team Canada West mates were shut out 2-0 by Sweden last night at the World Junior "A" Challenge in Langley. Canada West continues the tourney tonight against St. Denis' Penticton teammates, Mario Lucia and Mike Reilly, and the United States.


Anonymous said...

Chris when are you going to address the Adam Boytinck situation? Also now that Wong has left the team aren't you entitled to let readers know whats going on. It's obvious the team is having troubles, why don't you start voicing your opinion on the blog?

There's not much reason for me to read a blog that recounts the scoring and penalties from each game. If I just want facts I can get that from the box score and the website.

Chris Wahl said...

Boytinck hasn't been traded, and the "situation" hasn't been addressed by anyone in the media to my knowledge. In fact, the Trail Times printed TODAY that Boytinck is one of "only three players [who] remain from last year's team." Until a move is made, there isn't much to talk about quite frankly. As for Wong, that's news to me.

If by opinion, you mean ripping the team, to be straight it won't happen here. No doubt the team has had its struggles, but I've said repeatedly over the course of the season to give it time, and that things are improving. I'd like to think that audio interviews from the Smoke Eaters and the four other junior teams I cover as part of my day job offer incentive for visiting on occasion.

If that's not enough to satisfy your thirst for knowledge, then enjoy reading the boxscores I guess.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think I'm speaking for more than myself when I say that Chris's professional, accurate and extremely informative game day packs are exactly what we want to read on a blog endorsed by the team. If you're looking for a game day rip the team apart pack, sounds like the first poster would be far more qualified to write it. How about we all just stick to what we do best and let the team work out the kinks without adding insult to injury by using public forums to criticize? Show some support and some class.

Anonymous said...

How can Chris be endorsed by the team when he doesn't know what's happening on the team. If everybody knows that Wong has left the team, why aren't they sharing that with Chris.  Boytinck has been gone for over a week and The Trail Times and the official Smokies blog refuse to report it, I think the fans deserve better.  

These players have dedicated most of their life to get to this point, trying to move on to the Dub or NCAA.    I think they deserve better than what they've been given. 

Chris Wahl said...

Are you saying the players deserve better, or more comprehensive coverage by that statement? By that token, are you inferring that Adam Boytinck, or any other player on the team deserves better by having everyone in the media say they've gone home?

I'm endorsed by the team because they pay me to call the home games on PPV, and I don't report on things that aren't discussed with me on the record. Even though the Smoke Eaters aren't my primary source of income, I'm not going to, in this case, go against my employer and risk ruining that professional relationship or my integrity as a journalist for something that apparently "everyone" but me knows anyway.

If you, or anyone want to discuss this further with me, you can reach me by email. It's right there on the right.

Anonymous said...

If you take the time to read what I wrote earlier, I stated his blog was endorsed by the team. Furthermore, I find it odd that for someone who makes the claim that "everyone knows about Wong..", thereby identifying yourself as someone with inside knowledge of the team, since clearly everyone does not know, that you also don't apply discretion as to why information may or may not be made public. There are any number of reasons as to when and why management or players make announcements. Again, using a public forum to debate and speculate seems futile and pointless.