By Hailey Robinson – Silvertips Staff Writer
The Silvertips continue practice this week in advance of just one game on the schedule, Saturday night in Kennewick then they take on the Tri-City Americans in the first match-up of the season – and a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Championship Series. A few faces may have changed (not to mention Mike Williamson leaving in place of Kelly Buchberger on the Tri-City bench), but many remain from April’s playoff series while the context of a U.S. Division series remains the same.
It’s early in the season to be facing a team that presents a hotly-contested approach, but Everett’s new players are finally starting to settle in. A long week of practice means the four players returning from two weeks at NHL camps are gelling with the rest of the team as well before the Tips head to Kennewick on Saturday to play the Americans at Toyota Center at 7:05.
After a rocky start to the season, with back to back losses to Vancouver, the Tips got back on track with a 3-1 win against Portland. They’re hoping to carry that momentum through a week of practice where they’re finally able to come together as a complete team, and on the road to Kennewick.
The Tips are missing a few key pieces and while adding in a few more, and the Ams look different as well. Both teams have starting goaltenders from last season who have moved on, and for Tri City forward Michael Rasmussen is still with the Red Wings in Detroit.
The Americans have only played one game this season, a 6-1 defeat of Spokane at home.
HART: Tips alum Carter Hart started for the Philadelphia Flyers in a preseason matchup againt the New York Rangers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. He stopped 14 of 17 shots he faced, keeping the Rangers scoreless for two of three periods.
While the first and third periods of the game were scoreless while Hart was in net, it was in the second period where Hart was able to show his skill despite seeing three shots get past (two from nearly unstoppable range). All three Rangers goals in the second period were on turnovers by the Flyers, and Hart still managed to stop eight shots — more than he faced in the first and third combined.
Hart didn’t seem happy in the Flyers 4-2 loss to New York. He’s not likely to start the final preseason game (veteran Brian Elliott may have one more turn), so this was his final audition. However, it won’t be a singular deciding factor for whether Hart starts the season in Philadelphia or Lehigh Valley, the Flyers AHL affiliate. That decision depends on his play in the past few weeks of preseason and training camp as well.
Hart is 2-1-1-0 with a .922 save percentage and 1.88 goals against average in the preseason.
Update (11:22am): The Flyers announced another round of cuts. Hart was not one of them. He’s still with the big club.
3 IN COLORADO: Something to look out for, in Colorado Eagles (AHL) territory – 3 Silvertips are together in AHL camp, looking for a home on opening night when the Eagles open next Friday, Oct. 5 against Chicago. Defensemen Kevin Davis, Matt Pufahl, and forward Josh Winquist are all with the Avalanche top affiliate in Loveland. They’ll open pre-season play tonight at home, against San Jose. Forward Matt Fonteyne is in camp with the Barracuda on an AHL contract, so that means four Silvertips alum will be in the same building. Full roster
SILVERTIPS PRACTICE QUOTES
Connor Dewar on having a long week of practice:
DEWAR: “It’s nice to have, for all the guys who were gone for two weeks at the NHL camps to come back and get caught up with the systems and where we’re at with our special teams. I think any time you get a couple days off to fine tune with your team and your details it’s very important and we’re advantage of the time we have here.”
Dewar on the new leadership corps (named on Wednesday):
DEWAR: “Whether or not they have a letter or not all those guys are leaders. It’s nice to see them get the recognition, and there’s even guys in the room still that probably didn’t get the recognition they deserve because you can’t give out eight letters a year.”
Bryce Kindopp on Dewar, Sutter, Wylie, and Christiansen returning from NHL camps:
KINDOPP: “It’s definitely been really nice having all the guys back and working on our systems and just small details and some special teams. It’s been really nice to be doing that. Obviously our leaders were gone for a bit and it’s nice to have them back. They set the tone, make sure all the young guys and even the returners are all fine tuned and ready to go so it’s nice to have everybody back.”
Kindopp on what makes a team leader:
KINDOPP: “Obviously those who got chosen deserved everything they got, they’re great leaders and great guys on and off the ice, somebody everyone can look up to. I think everybody can be a leader on a team whether you have it or not so I think we just have a great group of guys and congrats to those guys, they deserve it for sure. I think it’s just coming to the rink every day, doing the right things, the little things. Either being vocal or just on the ice doing all the little things right.”