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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Chiefs limp off for long road trip

Every two years, WHL U.S. Division teams make an arduous road trip to play the six East Division teams in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It's tough enough under average circumstances, but it will be more difficult for the Spokane Chiefs. Read story

The Chiefs will jump on the bus Wednesday for a road trip that will keep them away from the Arena until Feb. 20. Spokane will play, in order, Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Brandon and Swift Current.


Spokane has a better winning percentage (.520) than every East Division team except Brandon and Regina, but the Chiefs are laboring with a depleted roster. Spokane had nine scratches -- seven because of injuries -- during Tuesday's 3-2 home loss against Everett that capped a five-game homestand in which the Chiefs were 1-4. Overall, Spokane has lost eight of nine and 11 of 14.


"Right now, we're not scoring," Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur said. "I have some forwards who haven't scored in the entire month of January and still haven't scored in February."


When it came to forwards, the Chiefs had only three complete lines and one extra player for Tuesday's game.


"We have guys with injuries where we know they won't be back until later in the season," Nachbaur said.


That list appears to include forwards Hudson Elynuik and Kolten Olynek, who are both listed as "indefinite" with upper-body injuries.


Nachbaur said center Blair Oneschuk (upper body) appears to be the closest to returning.


"A couple of the hurt guys are coming along (on the road trip) for conditioning, and hopefully one or two of them can step out and play," Nachbaur said. ... "We need bodies because you're going to play six games in 10 nights. It's going to wear on us, with the travel and the games."


It all begins Friday in Moose Jaw, the only team to defeat Spokane when it made the trip during the 2012-13 season.



Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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