Warriors notebook

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Friday, November 12, 2010

I have no idea how the WHL selects its plays of the week, but Quinton Howden’s goal against the Regina Pats Saturday — the one where he picked the top corner with one hand while falling down — seemed like a contender for play of the season. It failed to make this week’s top five on the league web site.

Former AAA Warrior Derrick Pouliot did make the top five with a tremendous goal for the Portland Winterhawks.

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Speaking of the local midget AAA club, the Moose Jaw Generals learned this week that they have earned a place at the Mac’s midget tournament in Calgary. After seeing fewer foreign teams as the economy turned sour in recent years, there is talk that there will be more American teams at this year’s tournament.

Regardless, the Mac’s is always an enjoyable and well-run tournament and should help prepare the Generals for when they host the Western Regional tournament on the road to the Telus Cup.

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After winning their three games in three nights last weekend, the Warriors took Monday off and then had a somewhat unusual Tuesday.

They began the day with a cooking class at Vanier where they learned to cook some nutritious meals with a focus on learning about diet and nutrition. That may seem like a given, but after living with billets, it’s one of the early challenges for players trying to live on their own as they advance to the next level. If you’re trying to make your mark in professional hockey — no matter the level — you can’t afford a “freshman fifteen” that often plagues first-year university students living on their own.

After honing their culinary skills, the team went to the new field house and did some team building exercises and finished with a game of soccer. They returned to the ice Wednesday and had two days of regular practice.

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In case you missed it . . . to celebrate Ryan Smyth’s 1,000th NHL game, his Los Angeles Kings teammates found a special way to honour him during their morning skate:

http://video.kings.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=729&id=81726

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A couple of things to consider when looking at the WHL’s Eastern Conference standings — Brandon and Red Deer have played the most road games in the WHL to date. In fact Red Deer has the best road record in the league. That should indicate that the Rebels are for real and the Wheat Kings should move up the standings as they start to get more home games. Of course if Brayden Schenn (healthy scratched for the third game in a row Thursday night) returns, that will only help.

The Regina Pats have played the most home games in the WHL. That doesn’t bode well for them despite the fact they’ve played some pretty good hockey of late. The Warriors are right behind them with 12 home games with three in a row coming this week. It’s early, but getting hot and winning a lot of those home dates in the last two weeks was important for the Warriors.

“At some point we have to go out on the road here too, so you have to make hay in your own building,” said Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak.

Speaking to Hunchak Thursday he felt that every conference game was going to be important this season. When asked if there was any point at dwelling on the standings so early in the season, he noted that with the conference being so close, any points dropped now will large in the spring.

Hunchak stressed that they need to keep doing what they’ve doing in their six-game streak and that one of the most important things was “The big thing is making sure guys are sharp and that guys don’t fall in love with themselves. That’s probably the most important message this week.”

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