I'm not a doctor or a member of the training staff so it is quite possible that I will get trumped on this, but let me just say that things are looking promising on the injury front heading into this weekend's three game set. Last weekend the Spruce Kings found themselves up and down on the rollercoaster; on the upside the team picked up their first win but on the downside they found another player being added to the infirmary.
In the preseason, the team lost the services of Trevor Esau before fans even had a chance to really get a good look at the young defenceman. Faiz Khan was another player that the Spruce Kings picked up in the off season, but was unable to be in the opening night lineup. Although Khan did suit up for a game against the Vees in Penticton, the twenty year old forward found that he wasn't 100 percent and required a little more time to fully mend.
In that same game against the Penticton Vees, Riley Spraggs was added to the injury list after a hit in the offensive zone. That list grew to four when Connor Tiechko was hit hard into the wall on a play that resulted in a double minor for hooking and boarding being assessed to the offending Vernon Vipers player.
With four players on the shelf for Saturday's rematch with the Penticton Vees, the affects of the short bench showed themselves as the game wore on. With less than three minutes remaining in that game, the Vees were able to turn a close one-goal game into a two-goal spread and eventually added two empty netters. Things got worse the next day when the Vipers bit back after their 3-1 loss to the Spruce Kings on Friday night.
With that weekend now behind them, the Spruce Kings have taken to the practice ice to prepare for a three game weekend with games against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday, the Surrey Eagles on Saturday and the Silverbacks again on Sunday. Two things jumped out at me when I took in one of those practices; there were no players sitting in the stands and there were no yellow jerseys on the ice. The yellow jersey is often symbolic of a player with an injury that is on the road to recovery but needs to take it easy and have teammates take it easy on them.
Trevor Esau (pictured above) was wearing a black jersey while Faiz Khan wore blue and Connor Teichko was in grey. The other injured player, Riley Spraggs is expected to return to Prince George for the weekend after another doctor's visit. The three players that were on the practicing with the team were going through the full drills and participating at a high level that has left me believing that we will be able to see all of them in action this weekend.