I'm hearing conflicting reports about Joe Barnes status in the lineup for this weekend. From a very reliable source which I have to keep confidential says he will be in the lineup but today I read on the website that it still says 2 weeks. Perhaps someone in the "KNOW" can shed some light on this please?
I would like to see the Blades with Menei(10 pts in 14 games) and Barnes 24pts in 24 games back tonight to form our top 2 lines again.
However, reading the Star Phoenix today they say that we only have 11 forwards tonight with the callup of Walker Wintoneak from MJHL. That leads me to believe that Barnes and Menei aren't ready to return yet! The lines look drastically different without Barnes and even Menei who has been very good this year as a 19 yr old.
Cloud and Tiball
It is even going to get more thin when the Blades lose Setoguchi, Bahensky to the WJHC and Gillies to Under 17's. In addition the Blades won't be able to call up Cameron as he will be on the Western Under 17 squad. That will leave Saskatoon with only 8 forwards if Barnes and Menei are still hurt and 3 of those forwards are: Cloud, Tidball and Wintoneak who don't see any regular ice time at all. Others will be rookies MaCaulay, MacAngus and 17 yr old McCrae. The only veterans around over Xmas if Barnes and Menei aren't ready will be Rabbit and Bader to basically carry the team! Looks like a tough road ahead.
The defense only loses Funk(Under 17's). Anton Khudobin who has picked up his game lately will be with Team Russia at the World Jr's leaving the Blades with only ROOKIE Kevin Armstrong and callup Braden Holtby(16 yrs old).
Here is a look at the roster for Dec 27th-Jan 6th...assuming Barnes and Menei aren't ready.
Cole- 19 yrs, 1st yr as a Blade
Panchyson- 17 yrs, 1st yr as a Blade
Lineker-19 yrs, 1st yr as a Blade
Ward-17 yrs, ROOKIE
Armstrong-ROOKIE, 17 yrs
Holtby- ROOKIE, CALLUP, 16 yrs...here till xmas and then to Under 17.
So in total the Blades will have 8 forwards, 7 defense and 1 goalie from its regular roster. 5 of the 8 forwards will be rookies. 3 of the 7 dmen were not with the team last season. Both goalies will be rookies. 9 of the 16 players left will be 17 and Under!!!! 10 of the 16 will be Blade rookies.