Friday, 9 September 2011

Wheat Kings Set to Begin Process

Cory Clouston instructs during Thursday's practice
A hockey season is a series of small steps and the Brandon Wheat Kings take their first one Friday night when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors in their pre-season opener (7:30 p.m, Westman Communications Group Place).

First-year head coach Cory Clouston admits the players have had a lot of information thrown at them this week, and now it's a matter of putting all that knowledge into a game situation.

"Some guys are able to absorb the information quicker than others but it's a process," said Clouston after practice on Thursday, "A lot of these guys, it's new to them but it's a matter of how much information you can grab on to and translate that into a game."

Friday's game will be the first chance for players to impress in a real game situation and how they play within the system Clouston is teaching will all be part of the continuing evaluation process.

"At this level you can’t just goout there and play hard. You have to be able to play with some structure and play a team game," said Clouston, "Teams are too well-coached, teams are too even that if you just think you can go out there and just compete hard, that’s not enough. You have to compete with structure."

The Wheat Kings' lineup will likely be an fairly even blend of rookies and returnees tonight with Brandon having to make few lineup decisions.

The club has 12 healthy forwards and two goaltenders, meaning Clouston's lineup decision comes down to scratching two of the eight defencemen at his disposal.

Clouston also said Thursday that goaltenders Corbin Boes and Liam Liston will each play one full game this weekend.

Chaff...the Warriors will be without three players with Brandon connections this weekend. Brandon product Joel Edmundson is away at St. Louis' prospect camp, Brandon's Brayden Cuthbert remains out of Moose Jaw's lineup because of a concussion and former Wheat King Dallas Ehrhardt is serving a three-game suspension for a cross-checking major he received last weekend...a week into the WHL pre-season schedule and the league has already issued seven suspension totalling 16 games, and doled out $500 in fines...tickets to the Wheat Kings' home opener on September 23rd went on sale Friday morning.

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