Thursday, 23 September 2010

Stone Back at Practice, and Other Stuff Too

The Brandon Wheat Kings welcomed Mark Stone (right) back to practice Wednesday.

The 18-year old Winnipeg product is just back from the training camp of the NHL's Ottawa Senators, his first professional camp after being chosen in the sixth round of June's NHL Entry Draft.

"I didn't really know what to expect going in," said Stone after Wednesday's session with Brandon, "Coming out of it, it was a good learning experience for myself, seeing what other guys do in different leagues and definitely seeing what NHL players do on a day-to-day basis was definitely pretty cool."

Stone says the biggest thing he noticed was the precision at which practice was handled, especially the crispness of the passing.

"You get out there for that first ice-time, there's no missed passes, bang-bang, no whistles, guys are running it themselves and everyone knows what's going on," said Stone, "It was a little bit different for me and the pace was a little extreme for myself at this point of my development."

Stone, who had 11 goals and 28 points in 39 games last season, is expected to be a top-six forward with the Wheat Kings in his third WHL season.

The Wheat Kings open the regular season Friday night when they host the Regina Pats.

In other news...

- Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon told me after practice Wednesday that the club expects to announce their leadership group on Thursday.

- Memorial Cup chairperson Jeff Cristall, WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and CFB Shilo Commanding Officer Lt. Col Shane Schreiber will be on hand for the ceremonial opening face-off on Friday. That leads me to speculate that, perhaps, Friday will be the day the financial figures (ie: profit) from the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup are unveiled. I would expect the profit to be close to the guaranteed number of $800,000.

- Things are picking up on the season ticket front, with more than 2,850 season tickets having been sold for the upcoming season including nearly 100 in the last two days. It's the second most season tickets in club history, although it's still some 750 shy of last year's total of 3,600.

- Brayden Schenn was not in LA's lineup for their pre-season game in Colorado on Wednesday, but is expected to play with the Kings on Thursday. Los Angeles has split squad games with Phoenix, one in Arizona and one in LA.

- former Wheat King Matt Calvert did not play in Columbus' 6-2 loss to Washington Wednesday. Eric Fehr had an assist for the Capitals.

- former Brandon captain Ryan Craig scored twice for Pittsburgh in the Penguins 5-1 win over Detroit on Wednesday.

- former Wheat King Peter Schaefer scored a shorthanded goal for Vancouver in their 3-2 loss to Edmonton. Schaefer is in Canucks' camp on a free agent tryout as he tries to resurrect his NHL career. The 33-year old was out of hockey last season.

- 14,092 were on hand at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg Wednesday night to watch Tampa Bay double the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.

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