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Vancouver Province article (Cold day for Giants' Cloud)

September 26 2008 at 7:24 AM
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Cold day for Giants' Cloud

Overage tough guy to be traded or put on waivers

Steve Ewen, The Province

Published: Friday, September 26, 2008

Chris Cloud is no longer a Vancouver Giant, but he may still play several games at the Pacific Coliseum this season.

The Giants have pegged Cloud, a winger, as the odd-man out in the battle for their three overage spots, and the arch-rival Chilliwack Bruins are one of the teams said to be interested.

Giants general manager Scott Bonner said Thursday that he'll try to trade Cloud over the next couple of days, but if he can't work out a deal he'll release him on the weekend.

If it gets to that, you can bet Cloud won't be set free in time for the Bruins nab him and use him Sunday night when the Giants come to town; the teams' front offices haven't been cordial in the past.

"He's a great kid and he was good for us last year," Bonner said of Cloud, who didn't skate with Vancouver Thursday and is waiting things out for now at his billet home. "It just comes down to numbers.

"Would I rather he not stay in the west? I may not have a choice. We've put him on the [trade] wire and he'll be there for a couple of more days. After that, we'd waive him and whoever picks him up, picks him up."

Bonner's busy right now. Kraymer Barnstable, 18, last year's back-up netminder, also left the Giants Thursday and is awaiting a trade or a release. He lost his spot to rookie Jamie Tucker, 17, who started Vancouver's first two games of the season while Tyson Sexsmith was at San Jose Sharks training camp.

Sexsmith, 19, gets the call for the Giants' home opener tonight, facing the Prince George Cougars.

There are other goalies on the market, so it's hard to guess where Barnstable might land. The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers are openly shopping their back-ups from last season, Torrie Jung, 19, and James Priestner, 17, respectively, and they both saw more ice last season than Barnstable, who had a 6-4 record to go with a 2.45 goals-against average and .886 save percentage.

Cloud had eight goals, 19 points and a plus-five rating in 68 regular season games last season, but he's best known for his toughness. He had 15 fights last year, the most notable against the Bruins when the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Cloud pummeled 6-foot-4, 200-pound Matt McCue.

The Bruins have one 20-year-old currently, tough-guy winger Partik Bhungal. The Saskatoon Blades, the team Vancouver got Cloud from for a draft pick in the summer of 2007, are also rumoured to have expressed interest. They have two overages currently.

Cloud, who turns 20 next month, lost out in Vancouver to Casey Pierro-Zabotel, the Giants' No. 1 centre, and defencemen Craig Schira and Mike Berube, who both were alternate captains last season.

"It takes a lot off our minds -- we don't have to worry any more," said Schira, who has been Cloud's billet mate. "It's still very tough. Everybody on the team loves him."

© The Vancouver Province 2008

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