Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wheat Kings' Greybeard is a Newbie for Playoffs

David Toews is in a unique position as the Brandon Wheat Kings get set to open the Western Hockey League playoffs Friday night in Medicine Hat (8:00 p.m., CKLQ).

Toews is one of 12 Wheat Kings who could be making their WHL playoff debuts on Friday but, as one of Brandon’s 20-year old players, he’s also expected to provide veteran poise and leadership.

“I’ve had a lot of different experiences, but nothing quite like this one so it’s going to be new,” says Toews, who joined Brandon last summer after two seasons with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, “Being an older guy, I have to be ready to lead by example as well. I’m going to have learn as quick as possible, and keep doing the little things that have made as successful the last couple of months and then pick up new things as we go.”

Toews’ personal post-season experience may be somewhat limited, but he did have a front-row seat to the ultimate playoff run when his older brother Jonathan captained the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup title last spring.

“You have to expect the level of play is going to be elevated and you have to be ready for that and you have to be ready to elevate your play,” says Toews, a third round pick of the New York Islanders in 2008, “I watched my brother a lot last year and I know it’s not the same, but you get that sense that it’s playoff time and it’s time to go to work.”

Toews finished the regular season with a flourish with nine goals and 22 points in the last 19 games and had 20 goals and 48 points in 60 games in his first season in the Western Hockey League.

Overall, Brandon has a total of 175 games of playoff experience, with Brodie Melnychuk and Scott Glennie leading the way with 33 games apiece.

Rookie defenceman Jordan Fransoo has the second most playoff games among Wheat Kings’ blueliners after appearing in four contests during last year’s second round series against Saskatoon

Chaff…D Ryley Miller could be back in the Wheat Kings’ lineup for the start of the playoffs. Miller missed the last eight regular season games with a suspected broken left hand but has been practicing without limitations with Brandon all week… over the last five regular seasons, Brandon is 4-6-0-0 vs. the Tigers in Medicine Hat and 10-9-1-1 overall.

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