Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wheat Kings Hope Offence is Back

Darian Dziurzynski
The Brandon Wheat Kings look for back-to-back wins for the first time since December 2nd when they visit the Regina Pats on Wednesday night (6:35 p.m., 880 CKLQ or online at

Brandon hoping Saturday's 6-3 win in Swift Current is a sign of things to come, particularly from the offensive side.

The Wheat Kings have scored more than three goals in a game just four times in 18 contests since the Christmas break and, not coincidentally, they're 3-1-0-0 in those four contests.

20-year old Darian Dziurzynski scored an empty-net goal in Satuday's win to break a seven-game pointless streak but his production has been part of the dropoff for Brandon in the second half.

Dziurzynski has points in three of the last 18 games in the second half and just three points in the last 13 games.

"When you look at the last couple of games I've played, been gradually getting better, me and Kevin (Sundher) both," said Dziurzynski after Tuesday's practice, "We've been talking a lot, and we feel that we've been gradually gettng better as a line and should help the team out. We'll probably starting scoring some goals here now, hopefully keep getting better and go into playoffs strong."

Sundher was acquired in a trade with Victoria on January 9th but after scoring 64 points in 40 games with the Royals the Buffalo Sabres' draft pick has just seven points in 13 games with Brandon.

However, Dziurzynski feels he's starting to find some chemistry with his new centre.

"Haven't really played together consistently. He'd be going one night and then I'd be going one night but now that we're both starting to find it, it should be good," said Dziurzynski, "It's different coming from the West Coast for him to the Eastern Conference but I think he's started to get used to it and it should be pretty good."

Dominick Favreau practiced without restrictions on Tuesday and could be back in the Wheat Kings' lineup Wednesday night after missing six games with a shoulder injury while Paul Ciarelli hasn't practiced this week after missing Saturday's game with an upper body injury.

Ciarelli's status isn't known as the 20-year old centre doesn't appear in this week's official WHL Injury Report.

Chaff...D Brodie Melnychuk also missed practice Tuesday but was on the ice Monday and should be fine to play career game #301 Wednesday...Brandon has 18 games remaining in the regular season with 33 per cent of those, six, coming against the Pats including four in Regina...Mark Stone takes a five-game point streak (4 G, 7 A) into Wednesday's contest while defenceman Ryan Pulock is on a three-game goal streak (3 G, 3 A).

Now, if you don't want another rant about the WHL Injury Report, stop reading now.

Are you still reading?

As mentioned above, Paul Ciarelli is not on this week's Injury Report despite not playing Saturday in Swift Current, not practicing yet this week and (presumably) missing Wednesday's game in Regina.

The accuracy of the Official WHL Injury Report is called into question on a weekly basis, even beyond the Upper and Lower Body Injury nonsense.

One of the silently amusing things on the report over the last couple of months has been the status updates on Brandon centre Tyrel Seaman.

Seaman has played just one game since November 25th, and it's pretty much widely known that he's suffered back-to-back concussions (or concussion-like symptoms) in games November 25th and again on December 28th.

Most fans and media understand that it's the type of injury where it's hard to pinpoint an exact time frame of when he might return.

However, here's been his status on the official WHL Injury Report over the last 11 weeks...

February 7 - Upper Body, 2 Weeks
January 31 - Upper Body, 2 Weeks
January 24 - Upper Body, 2 Weeks
January 17 - Upper Body, 2 Weeks
January 10 - Upper Body, 1 Week
January 3 - Upper Body, 1 Week
December 27 - Returns from Injury
December 20 - No Report
December 13 - Upper Body, 1 Week
December 6 - Upper Body, 1 Week
November 29 - Upper Body, 1 Week

That means, he's been two weeks away from returning to the lineup for four consecutive weeks!!

Never mind the media, I wonder how NHL scouts who are setting their travel schedules to, perhaps, see the 50th ranked prospect in North America (according to the CSS Midterm rankings) feel about trying to figure out when Seaman may or may not return?

Want another reason why the WHL Injury Report is generally useless?

Dominick Favreau injured his shoulder (the proverbial upper body injury) during a home game on January 21, but did not appear on the January 24 Injury Report.

He then proceeded to miss all four games on Brandon's Central Division road trip from January 24 - 28.

Rant Over!!!

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