Monday, September 27, 2010

Souto fights for playing time with Blazers

Daily News Sports Editor
The WHL game was into its last minute Saturday night at Interior Savings Centre, the Kamloops Blazers were losing 5-2, and Chase Souto didn’t know who it was who had just slashed him.
“No, I didn’t. I dropped my gloves and went ‘oh-oh!’ ” the Kamloops Blazers’ freshman right winger said after Monday’s practice at Interior Savings Centre.
The whacker turned out to be Chilliwack defenceman Zach Habscheid, whom the Bruins list at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. (Yes, he is the son of Marc Habscheid, the Bruins’ general manager and head coach.)
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Souto, who won’t turn 16 until Oct. 8, poked Habscheid, 18, with one right hand and then reloaded and drilled him with a straight right to the jaw. Habscheid went down as though he was a heavy bag and the chain holding it up had been cut.
Habscheid likely woke up Sunday with a headache. Souto was left with a sore thumb.
Souto, a fifth-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft, is from Yorba Linda, Calif. He arrived in the Blazers’ camp prepared to do anything to stay, and now that he is on the roster he wants to continue with that approach.
At his size, it’s not like he’s a scrapper, but he is scrappy.
“We weren’t allowed to fight in my league but I did a couple of times,” he said, when asked about his ring record last season.
So what happened Saturday?
“They were having guys kind of run us all game and they were beating us in our own barn,” Souto explained. “I just wanted to send a message for Saturday when we play them again.”
The Blazers open a two-game swing Friday in Everett against the Silvertips. Whether Souto plays in that game has yet to be decided, but you can bet he will be in the Kamloops lineup for the rematch with the Bruins on Saturday in Chilliwack.
“I like to be a high-energy player . . . to get the boys going and stuff like that,” Souto said. “I thought I played pretty well. You can always be better but I didn’t think I did that bad.”
Souto had been a healthy scratch Friday, missing the Blazers’ season-opening 5-2 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars.
“He competes and has a passion for the game,” Kamloops head coach Guy Charron said of Souto.. “Now he needs to learn the game.”
Souto said he found Saturday’s game to be “really fast-paced and lots of fun.”
“There were,” he added, “a lot of big boys out there, too.”
But Souto, like so many Davids before him, found out that, indeed, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
The Blazers had three players miss practice yesterday.
D Josh Caron (broken collarbone) won’t need surgery but will be out for up to two months.
Caron, 19, was injured during the second period of Saturday’s game, but wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the injury and tried to play in the third. He left after one shift, doubled over in pain, following a light bump in the neutral zone.
“He’s in pain,” Charron said. “They don’t immobilize it. The problem is the muscles around it. But once it heals, it heals well. He’s young and the bones knit together really well.”
D Corey Fienhage, who arrived back from the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night, was sore from blocking a shot during the NHL team’s camp so was given the day off.
Charron also indicated that he is prepared to cut the team’s pro campers some slack for a day to two.
“When they come back,” Charron said, “emotionally, they’re drained. We only had four defencemen for practice but (I decided) maybe a day off would be better value.”
All Charron asked was that Fienhage “watch practice and realize what we’re trying to do.”
RW Jordan DePape (shoulder) was held out strictly as a precautionary measure. He is expected to be back on skates today or Wednesday and is scheduled to play in both weekend games.
“It’s a muscle thing and he would only aggravate it by practising,” Charron said.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers next play at home on Oct. 6 when the Spokane Chiefs are in town. . . . D Brandon Underwood was back practising after missing the Blazers’ first two games with a concussion incurred Sept. 18. . . . Charron said that, depending on how practice goes this week, he plans on starting G Jon Groenheyde on Friday in Everett, with G Jeff Bosch to make his Blazers debut Saturday in Chilliwack. Bosch was acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 17 but has been slowed by a sprained ankle. . . . The Blazers made scoring changes to two Friday goals. The first goal, originally credited to Dylan Willick, has been credited to Linden Saip, with assists to Colin Smith and DePape. As well, Austin Madaisky has been given an assist on Brendan Ranford’s goal, the Blazers’ fourth of the game. . . . Former Blazers captain Jared Aulin was released from his tryout with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He has been offered a tryout with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. . . . D Brendon Nash of Kamloops, who had a goal and an assist for the Montreal Canadiens in an NHL exhibition game on Sunday night, has been assigned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
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