The ice is pink. Everyone is wearing pink. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Toyota Center. The Everett Silvertips are in town for tonight’s affair, and I’m sure they aren’t a happy bunch of bears.
There are auctions going on all over the concourse. The jerseys have a minimum bid of $200 and a buy-it-now of $750. Spendy, for sure, but I see the bill for my annual mammogram, and trust me, $750 would pay for two scans. All the proceeds go to a good cause.
Everett, which has dropped its past 10 games, is expected to have goaltender Austin Lotz, winger Joshua Winquist and defenseman Austin Adam back on the ice tonight. I see them on the lineup, let’s see how they do.
I’m sure they want to do well. With 10 consecutive losses, another loss tonight would stretch that to a franchise record 11 in a row.
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When Everett GM Garry Davidson fired Mark Ferner a while back, and took the reins of the team, he wanted to take the Silvertips in a different direction. I’m not sure this is how he envisioned this working out.
Lotz, Everett’s No. 1 goaltender, was unavailable for nine games because of an ankle sprain. The Americans will keep him busy tonight.
But, all is not good with the Silvertips. Everett beat writer Nick Patterson notes: Despite the returns, the Tips haven’t avoided the injury bug just yet. Center Manraj Hayer is considered day-to-day because of a lower-body injury that’s prevented him from practicing, and winger Logan Aasman left practice Thursday after taking a shot off his arm. Hayer is out of the lineup tonight, as are Ayrton Nikkel and Lucas Grayson. Aasman's status is undecided.
The Americans, who brought in affiliate player Fraser Bulbuc at the start of the week, also will have Matthew Gelinas for tonight’s game and Saturday. Nothing like rolling four lines. It’s been a while.
The two will be needed as Ryan Chynoweth still is out, along with Justin Gutierrez and Brian Williams (foot). D-man Clint Filbrandt is a healthy scratch.
The best news for the Americans this week, is the return of forward Beau McCue, who sat out 15 games with an ankle injury. He returned in a win over Vancouver on Tuesday.
“It’s unbelievable to be back.” McCue said before Thursday’s practice. “It’s tough to sit up there (in the stands) and watch. It’s nice to get back out on the ice.”
McCue, who has 14 goals and 9 assists, was skating on the top line with Justin Feser and Malte Strömwall before his injury. He was replaced by Jesse Mychan.
“It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to,” McCue said of working his way back to the top. “I did it at the beginning of the year and I have to do it again. Jesse is doing a great job. It will be hard.”
McCue said it took him the better part of the game Tuesday to get his hockey legs back.
“I didn’t get the most shifts, which is reasonable,” he said. “In the third I started to feel more comfortable on the ice.”
In the WHL Plays of the Week, you can get another look at Parker Bowles’ goal against Spokane. Just a beauty.
You can follow me throughout the game on twitter: @tchicequeen