Monday, 17 October 2011

Dziurzynski, Anderson Put Through First Paces by Wheat Kings

Darian Dziurzynski in his first practice
with the Wheat Kings on Monday
Darian Dziurzynski will have a unique story to tell about the day he changed teams.

Dziurzynski, 20, and the Saskatoon Blades arrived in Portland from Seattle in the late afternoon on Sunday, while the Wheat Kings spent the day in Portland after facing the Winterhawks on Saturday night.

The Lloydminster, Alberta product was then told about the deal with Brandon, and he was accompanied on a stroll to the Wheat Kings’ hotel two blocks away by a Brandon contingent that included Michael Ferland and Brenden Walker.

Only in the Western Hockey League.

Dziurzynski and goaltender Brandon Anderson both practiced with the Wheat Kings for the first time Monday afternoon at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, where Brandon continues their road trip Tuesday night with a matchup against the Seattle Thunderbirds (8:35 p.m., CKLQ).

“I knew I was going somewhere, so I kind of figured either here (Brandon) or to Moose Jaw,” said Dziurzynski, who was given the heads-up about the possibility of being traded by Saskatoon GM/Coach Lorne Molleken earlier in the week, “I’m happy to be in Brandon. They gave up a lot of picks for me, so I want to come here and do a job.”

Dziurzynski had 35 goals and 125 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Blades last season, and has the well-earned reputation of being one of the toughest players in the WHL to play against.

It’s something that is quite clear for Wheat Kings’ fans, who’ve loved to hate Dziurzynski through many rivalry games between Brandon and Saskatoon during his four-plus seasons with the Blades.

“The Blades and Wheat Kings have both been battled for top seed in the East ever since I’ve been in the league,” said Dziurzynski, “You play each other eight times every year, you get a bit of a rivalry going there…the fact they can still make trades together shows how much respect they have for each other.”

It’s the second time in just over nine months Saskatoon and Brandon have hooked up on a trade, with the Brayden Schenn deal from the Wheat Kings to the Blades the other major deal last January.

Brandon Anderson stops a shot from Brenden Walker
in Wheat Kings' practice on Monday
Meanwhile, Anderson is happy to be with the Wheat Kings after playing on non-playoff teams in Lethbridge the past two seasons.

“They have some skilled players here, some talent up front and some talent on the back-end,” said Anderson, “It’s pretty exciting to come to a place like this, I’m looking forward to it.”

Anderson played 57 games with the Hurricanes last season, and there’s little doubt he was acquired to solidify Brandon’s #1 goaltender spot.

Even so, the 19-year old Langley, B.C. product is hoping to have a good relationship with fellow Brandon netminder Corbin Boes.

“He played here last year, so he’s obviously going to push me to play and I’m going to push him to play,” said Anderson, “It’ll be a good competition.”

While Dziurzynski and Anderson practiced with Brandon for the first time Monday, the Wheat Kings also welcomed another new face.

Jack Palmer, 16, practiced Monday and will be with the Wheat Kings for the next three days.

Palmer, an eighth round pick in the 2010 Bantam Draft, has two goals and seven points in seven games with the Saanich Braves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League this season.

Chaff…Dziurzynski was on right-wing on a line with C Paul Ciarelli and LW Michael Ferland in practice Monday, while Brenden Walker was in the middle between Mark Stone and Alessio Bertaggia. Tyrel Seaman was centering Jason Swyripa and Bruno Mraz while Carter Proft, Daniel Asham, Dakota Conroy and Palmer took turns on the fourth line…if you’re keeping track, Brandon still has two 1st round picks (their own and Saskatoon) and two 3rd round picks (their own and Lethbridge’s) in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft… more trade activity in the WHL Monday, with Prince Albert sending F Austin Connor and prospect Arwin Atwal to Vancouver for F Teal Burns and D Tyler Hart…Red Deer dealt D Lucas Grayson to Everett for a 4th round pick in 2013…Regina sent F Campbell Elynuk to Prince George for a conditional 6th round pick in 2012…there have been seven trades involving 13 players and nine draft picks in the WHL in the last two days…Liam Liston and Spencer Galbraith both made their Hurricanes’ debuts on Monday night. Liston stopped 30 of 33 shots and Galbraith was pointless with a +1 rating as the ‘Canes fell 4-2 to the visiting Kootenay Ice...former Wheat Kings' co-captain Matt Calvert was assigned to Syracuse (AHL) by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

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