Sour return home

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Devan Dubnyk is happy to be leaving Death Valley.

Back in the '80s, when the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames were at the top of the hockey world, NHL teams dreaded the Alberta road trip.

Dubnyk and the Kamloops Blazers had a similar experience this weekend.

The Calgary goaltender received little help Saturday night as the Hitmen laid a 6-0 beating on the B.C. squad.

Things didn't get any better the following night in Red Deer where the Rebels emerged with a 7-0 whitewashing.

The 6-ft. 6-in., 200-pounder failed to finish either game.

But despite the recent blip on the radar screen, Dubnyk has been having a sensational season.

He was named ADT CHL goaltender of the week on Thursday after leading Kamloops to three wins and posting a 1.00 GAA and .959 save percentage along the way.

With the Blazers fighting for their playoff lives -- they've never missed the playoffs -- most believe Dubnyk will have to carry the team if there is to be a post-season in Little Montreal.

"I think any team that's going to make the playoffs and goes deep into the playoffs, has to have a solid goaltender," Dubnyk says. "It's a high-pressure and important position so that pressure is always going to be there.

"I just want to go and focus on one shot at a time and try not to worry about everything surrounding it."

The 18-year-old can't afford to let his latest experience sour his taste on Alberta. The Edmonton Oilers draft pick plans on playing in the province for many years to come.

He got a sneak peek last fall at the Oilers' rookie camp and is looking forward to getting an extended look if the NHL resumes next season.

"Knowing a lockout was coming, it was just a shorter camp for the guys who weren't going to go play in the American League.

"It was a taste of what's to come. Obviously the real players on the Oilers weren't there and it was still an eye opener.

"You realize you still have a long ways to go and a lot of stuff to work on. But I think it was a good experience for me because you realize how fast the pace is at that level, and that's the American Hockey League level. You have to bring it up another notch at the NHL."

The current NHL work stoppage hasn't affected Dubnyk's mercurial career yet. But he'd still like to see a deal get done ASAP.

"I'm not worried about it too much for myself just yet," Dubnyk said. "It's just frustrating to see there's not much of anything going on in terms of a deal.

"Just as a hockey fan not being able to watch the games on TV and cheer on your team. Hopefully, they'll get things figured out as soon as possible."


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