Former Pat Elder having fun as scorer
By Tim Switzer, Leader-Post
December 3, 2008
Josh Elder in a scrap with a Moose Jaw player last season.Photograph by : Don Healy, Leader-PostREGINA -- Josh Elder cant explain it.
When he joined the Estevan Bruins after being released by the Regina Pats earlier this season, he never expected to be a consistent scoring threat in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. It has just worked out that way.
In 20 games with the Bruins, the 20-year-old Saskatoon product has 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points.
All of those totals are higher than any he compiled in his four seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders.
Im not going to change anything from my earlier years, said Elder. It feels like Im playing the same game but Im getting more ice time. It has been fun putting up points -- Im not really used to that.
Elders style has and always will be physical. Though he never put up astronomical penalty minutes (his highest total was 83 in 52 games in the WHL), Elders role was always that of a bruising enforcer -- a natural role for a player who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.
And maybe just as naturally, Bruins head coach Karry Biette didnt anticipate any sort of offensive explosion out of Elder.
He was never that (scorer) in the WHL so you dont expect him to come in and be a scoring threat every time hes out on the ice but thats what he has become, said Biette. Hes a big guy that was maybe looked upon as just a tough guy before in his career. I saw his positional play and how good that was and just gave him more and more rope and it has worked out well.
He plays very positional. Hes had some good coaches along the way that have taught him that part of the game. Hes always asking questions when he comes off the ice: Should I have gone there? Should I have been there?
The acquisition of another player who was dropped by the Pats -- Scott Doucet -- is also working out well for the Bruins (13-15-1-3). Playing on a line with Elder and Allias Kalinsky, Doucet has 17 points in 16 games. Kalinsky has nine points in 10 games.
Ive been playing with some great players and that has been helping me and so has playing on the power play, said Elder, who was also a teammate with Doucet in Prince Albert. I thought I always had the ability to score, but Im getting more opportunities now. I dont know how to explain it. Things have just been going my way.
Whether they played together on a line there or not, they at least played together and have that consistency, added Biette.
Elder and Doucet are also sharing their first major taste of junior A hockey in their 20-year-old seasons. Though it took a bit of time to adjust, Elder is loving his experience in Estevan and said he is more than happy to end his junior career in the southeastern Saskatchewan city.
Its a little different, but its still real competitive, said Elder. Theres some great players in this league and its just as fun as the WHL was.
With a newfound scoring prowess, maybe even a little more fun.
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