Vancouver Sun article (Giants a battered lot heading into playoffs)March 22 2011 at 7:21 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Giants a battered lot heading into playoffs
Injury-ravaged team will be in tough as series opens Friday against favoured Tri-City Americans
By Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
March 22, 2011
Giants captain James Henry is nursing a bad knee and is questionable for Friday's game.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch, PNG, Vancouver Sun
Vancouver Giants coach Don Hay was going down the team's injury list Monday and it seemed as if he was talking about half his roster. As it turned out, it was only about one third.
Captain James Henry, who hobbled off the ice after his first shift Sunday, has a bad left knee. How bad?
"He'll be re-evaluated again [today]," said Hay, whose battered troops open the WHL playoffs Friday in Kennewick, Wash., against the favoured Tri-City Americans. "At this time, his status for the weekend is not known."
Ouch. That doesn't sound promising. Hay was more definitive on defenceman Joel Rogers, midget call-up Anthony Ast and rookie right-winger Dalton Sward. Rogers and Ast have concussions while Sward has a broken ankle. All three are definitely out for the entire opening-round series.
For Rogers, it was his second concussion since January. He missed two months and played for only one week before Kelowna's Even Bloodoff hit him Saturday -Bloodoff received a charging major and game misconduct -and put him out again.
Ast was taken down Friday when he fell hard to the ice after a hit to the chest from Kelowna call-up Madison Bowey.
The news was better on right-winger Michael Burns. He was concussed March 9 against Chilliwack but has made excellent progress and has been cleared to begin practising today in a non-contact jersey. If he has a good week and no setbacks, Burns could play on the weekend. If not, he should be back for Game 3 next Tuesday. Hay was hedging on Burns's availability for the games in Tri-City.
"Michael is doubtful for the weekend," he said.
Defenceman Tyler Hart, who separated his shoulder three weeks ago against Seattle, is a go for Friday, according to Hay. Ditto for forward Teal Burns and his bruised right foot.
Meanwhile, team MVP Brendan Gallagher pronounced himself "100 per cent" after playing three games in three nights on the weekend.
He collected a goal and two assists -one point in each game -after sitting out for two weeks. Gallagher suffered a concussion March 5.
"My first game on Friday wasn't so good," Gallagher said.
"In Kelowna on Saturday, I felt much better. [On Sunday] I felt back to normal so I'm 100 per cent going into the playoffs."
As for facing Tri-City, which eliminated the Giants in the third round last season, Gallagher has a long memory.
"The first thought that comes to mind is that they're the ones who knocked us out last year," noted Gallagher, who finished the 2010-11 campaign eighth in league scoring with 91 points.
"The second thought is that they're a real small and quick team. They play hard, especially in their building. It's not going to be an easy series, but we're looking forward to it."
G-NOTES: The Americans are led offensively by Brendan Shinniman (96 points) ... Tri-City's power play was second best in the league (23.6 per cent) while the Giants were 13th (19.2 per cent) ... Penalty killing was almost identical with Tri-City 15th (78.7 per cent) and Vancouver 16th (78.4 per cent).
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
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