Warriors star uncertain about timeline for return from injury
The Moose Jaw Warriors are getting used to life without Brayden Point.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
FILE — Moose Jaw Warriors captain Brayden Point looks to make a play as he skates past Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman Nick Heid and closes in on David Quenneville in WHL action from last Sunday.
They wish that wasn't true, though.
"He's our leader. He's our captain for a reason. He's Brayden Point," Warriors winger Dryden Hunt said.
Widely accepted as being the best player in the Western Hockey League, Point is once again on the sideline after suffering an upper-body injury Friday. He has only played in 31 of the Warriors' 54 games this season.
How long he will be out this time remained a mystery Monday.
"Just like any other injury you go day by day and see how you feel and go from there," Point said.
"I'm feeling a lot better than I have in the last couple of days, so that's good. I'm doing rehab. It's pretty standard stuff. I'm just trying to get range of motion."
Point was injured after he was hit by Lethbridge defenceman Arvin Atwal. He didn't play in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to Red Deer and spent Monday's practice receiving treatment in the Warriors locker room.
"It was a two-on-two and I tried to cut to the middle. I got around the one guy and I just didn't see the other D man coming. It was a good, hard, clean check," Point said.
Point injured his shoulder in November and was out of lineup until he captained Canada at the world juniors. This new injury is not related to his previous injury.
"He did a bunch of exercises this morning and feels really good, so we'll see how he feels (Tuesday) and whether he can practice or not and take it from there," said Warriors head coach Tim Hunter. "Right now it's just day to day to see if it settles down. There's no long term prognosis or plan. It's up to him, just like it was the last time when the other injury happened."
The timing couldn't be much worse for the Warriors. They have a 2-6-2-0 record in their last 10 games and their offence had been struggling even with Point in the lineup. They were averaging 3.48 goals per game before their recent 10 game stretch. Their production dropped by nearly half in their eight most recent losses.
"When Point goes out, someone has to try to fill that void. Obviously no one's going to fill it entirely because he's Brayden Point," said Hunt who scored a hat trick Saturday. "You want to have someone step up and I tried to take that upon myself. I'm 20. I've been in the league for five years now. I tried to do whatever I could to get that win."
Hunt felt the entire team upped their game in the loss to Red Deer from goalie Zach Sawchenko to a group of younger players who logged more minutes.
Eight Warriors were feeling the affects of a flu virus during that game. Veteran centre Jesse Shynkaruk missed that game and Hunter said he was questionable for Wednesday's game against Prince Albert (7 p.m., Mosaic Place) with what he described as "borderline pneumonia."
Defenceman Josh Brook took a puck in the face Saturday, but returned to finish the game. He was sporting a very black eye Monday, but practiced with a full face shield and is expected to be available.
"We have to do what we can with what we've got. There's no help coming. This is what we have," Hunter said.
Sixteen of the Warriors last 18 games are against East Division foes. They face Prince Albert three times in the nine days as the potential first round playoff opponents are going to get to know each other much better.
"It's going to be a huge test and we play them a lot, so it's going to set the tone for the next few weeks," Hunt said.