Daily News Sports Editor
Despite fighting the flu and a terrible head cold, Mark Lamb was feeling better Saturday.
Lamb, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, had spoken with right-winger Killian Hutt and that was more than enough to brighten his day.
“He’s out of the hospital,” Lamb said. “He’s better than I thought he would be. It was a little scary there (Friday) night. I was really worried about him.”
Hutt, a 19-year-old from Edmonton, was injured at 9:17 of the third period when he was checked from the side by Kamloops right-winger Jordan DePape about 20 feet in front of the Blazers’ net.
“He did get up . . . obviously he doesn’t know what he was doing. He was trying to get up and it was just whatever nerve reaction was going on . . . (centre Justin) Dowling was the first guy to him and his eyes were in the back of his head and it was kind of like he was snoring. That’s what he sounded like, they said.”
The medical people had difficulty opening Hutt’s airway, but once that was accomplished they were well on their way.
“He was probably out the whole time,” Lamb said.
In less than 20 minutes, Hutt was on a stretcher, in an ambulance and on his way to Royal Inland Hospital. He spent the night there under observation, was released Saturday morning and was driven to Vancouver by the parents of LW Andy Blanke, who are making the B.C. Division swing with the team.
Hutt spent Saturday night in a hotel room as the Broncos played the Giants.
Lamb spoke with Hutt earlier Saturday and reported that “he’s better than I thought he would be.”
But, as Lamb put it, “Anything walking is better than I thought it would be. I thought the worst.”
Still, Lamb isn’t expecting Hutt back in the lineup anytime soon.
“He’s really concussed,” Lamb said. “His head is really, really bad. Now it’s just time.
“Still, out of all the bad stuff, it’s pretty positive where he’s at today.”
Hutt, like Lamb, also has been battling the flu and a head cold. So Lamb plans on checking with medical people to see whether Hutt will be OK to fly home to Edmonton.
In the meantime, Lamb has to work on icing a team through the rest of the pre-Christmas schedule. The Broncos finish off this B.C. swing against the Cougars in Prince George on Tuesday, then head for Saskatoon where they’ll play the Blades on Friday in their last game before the break.
Obviously, they are without Hutt, who has 21 points in 30 games. Also missing is injured F Stepan Novotny, who is second on the team with 14 goals, and C Cody Eakin, who had 39 points, including 18 goals, but is working to make Canada’s national junior team.
“This has been such a tough go for our team,” said Lamb, who is in his second season with the Broncos. “I know every team goes through tough (times), but we’ve had a really tough time of it.
“It’s been challenging coaching-wise. I guess it’s good for your development. But the challenge part this season compared to last season is unbelievable to me. We’ve never had the same lines two or three games in a row at all.”
It will be especially tough without Eakin, who eats up a tremendous amount of playing time. The 19-year-old may well have played more than 40 minutes on Friday in Kamloops.
“He’s one of those guys who doesn’t tire,” Lamb said. “It is unbelievable with this guy, with the effort and for what he does for us.”
Lamb pointed out that Eakin just wants to play . . . all the time.
“Early in the season, he wasn’t scoring like everyone thought he should but he had a softball on his elbow, he had a hip thing,” Lamb said, referring to an elbow infection and a hip strain that slowed Eakin at least a bit. “He missed some games but there are lots of games he shouldn’t have been playing.”
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