Their six-game losing streak is troubling enough for the Spokane Chiefs, but the struggling team may have a bigger concern. Read story
The Chiefs have been outscored 25-8 during a six-game losing skid that started Jan. 13 in Seattle.
Every loss has been to a U.S. Division rival, and the Chiefs have lost seven consecutive games against teams within their division. After a 4-1 win over Portland on Jan. 7, Spokane's record against divisional rivals was 13-5-2-0. Now it's 13-11-2-1.
The problem is, there's no sign that the Chiefs' slumbering offense will make a quick turnaround. Too many Chiefs are injured, and too many of the injuries are long term.
The most recent injury report listed defenseman Evan Fiala as day-to-day, but the other injuries appear to be more severe. Defenseman Jordan Henderson was listed as 3-5 weeks; forward Calder Brooks as week-to-week; and forwards Blair Oneschuk and Hudson Elynuik as indefinite.
Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur was forced to move Curtis Miske from center to defenseman on Sunday, just to have six players listed on defense.
"(Miske) has filled in a couple of times in practice and he did a nice job for us," Nachbaur said. "It's good to learn the other side of the puck, but we're so short of bodies right now that we have to look inside our locker room for that."
Spokane's only goal in its last four games was scored by defenseman Nick Charif at Portland on Friday. True to the Chiefs' recent stretch of bad fortune, Charif was a scratch for Sunday's game.
Chiefs goalies Garret Hughson (on Saturday) and Tyson Verhelst (on Sunday) gave the team a chance to win by keeping both games at 1-0 until late in the third period.
"(Verhelst) was good," Nachbaur said Sunday. "I liked what I saw in net. He gave us a chance with some great saves, and it's good for him."