Adversity Bolsters Bears

Despite a massive assortment of injuries to key members of the team, Acadia has managed to reclaim first place.
by Marcel Cormier | January 15, 2015, 5:37 PM ET

The Acadia Golden Bears have lost nearly 50 man games already this season due to injury and yet have managed to not only stay competitive but at the time this article was written, the Bears were in atop the SICHL standings.

"You can credit two things," said GM Guy Flaming, "Excellent coaching and outstanding depth."

Indeed, when Claude Giroux went down to injury in November, it opened the door for rookie Reilly Smith. And with Ryan O'Reilly also on the shelf, in stepped veteran Max Talbot

On the blueline the Bears lost both Ladislav Smid and Niklas Grossman at the same time forcing the recalling of Mark Pysyk and Rasmus Ristolainen. Then rookie Jacob Trouba and Rob Scuderi were knocked to the press box.

Through it all, Acadia was able to do more than keep its head above water. Sure there was the expected stuggles; a 4-game losing skid followed shortly after by a 2-1-3 stretch.

However, with Giroux back and the defensive group getting healthier, Acadia stopped treading water and started moving back up the standings in impressive fashion. The club's current 5-game winning streak began with a 6-1 win over Stockholm and has included a 6-goal effort against Fredericton and most recently a 5-1 pasting of Vancouver Island.

"I give the guys in this lockeroom all the credit," said head coach Dave Hakstol, "The line combinations have been anything but consistent lately yet they never complained. Quite honestly, I think they took our injuries as a kind of test and I think they've passed it."

Starting netminder Roberto Luongo agrees with his coach.

"I think we've rallied against it all," the netminder said, "Some guys had been waiting a long time to get ice time and when it came, they took advantage of it. Look at Max, he's been great for us."

Max Talbot has only appeared in 7 games this year but has 5 points including 3 goals.

Trade Rumors

It's been rumored that Acadia had been actively looking to add a veteran blueliner to their team during the period when so many of their defenceman were injured. Much of the whisper circulated involved Shea Weber, then of the Hamburg Gladiators. The All-Star defenceman was eventually moved in a large package deal to division rival Nova Scotia.

When asked about the rumor, GM Flaming didn't mince words.

"Yes, I heard the same ludicrous stories too but that's all that they were; stories!" he snapped.

Sources suggest that players like Jared Spurgeon and Beau Bennett were offered in Acadia's own proposal which was turned down by Hamburg. Still, Flaming insists there was nothing to it.

"Right, I'm offering up a 24-year old defenceman that plays 25 minutes a night, a 22-year old guy that scored a dozen goals for us last year as a rookie. Oh and my 1st round picks for the next 5 years and my house in the Hamptons too," Flaming said sarcastically. "If I had made a pitch with those players involved, don't you think Weber would be a Bear now? Of course he would and that's how you know it's not true."

Despite the GM's denials, sources insist that the Bears are kicking tires on a handful of players throughout the league.

Bears Tracks

  • Goaltender Eric Comrie helped Canada to a gold medal finish at the 2015 WJC in Toronto/Montreal.
  • While USA struggled at the 2015 WJC, forward Hudson Fasching did not as he was named one of the top 3 players from Team USA.
  • A recent scouting trip to the University of North Dakota allowed GM Guy Flaming a chance to watch Mark MacMillan and Carson Soucy. "Friday night Duluth was strong and Soucy played very well, the rematch on Saturday was the opposite as UND took it to the Bulldogs and MacMillan looked outstanding."
  • Defenceman Brycen Martin was dealt twice before the WHL trade deadline. First he was traded to Kamloops but the deal was voided by the league. The next day Swift Current exectuted another deal sending him to the Saskatoon Blades.
  • In November, the Victoria Royals sent rearguard Keegan Kanzig to the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for Greg Chase.
  • Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Dysin Mayo is 11th in league scoring by blueliners.
  • In the OHL, Nicholas Baptise was traded to the Erie Otters where he will play with top 2015 prospect Connor McDavid.
  • Michael McCarron was sent to the Oshawa Generals by the London Knights.

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