White spins big numbers

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

At the expense of Calgary Hitmen teammate Ryan Getzlaf, rookie Ryan White couldn't help but get in a few jibes.

After all, White has blitzed past Getzlaf's freshman numbers, leaving the talented sniper in his dust.

White now has 23 points (9g, 14a) in 49 games, while Getzlaf managed 18 (9g, 9a) in his debut WHL campaign in 2001-02.

White said he's been keeping an eye on the stats.

"I was chirping at him the other day after I passed him," said the 16-year-old from Brandon, Man., who doesn't turn 17 until next month.

"But then he said 'Try and get my second-year numbers' and that pretty much shut me up."

We'll have to wait and see what happens next season but for the record, Getzlaf picked it up and garnered 68 points in 70 games as a sophomore.

If his rookie campaign -- during which he is tied for second in league scoring among 16-year-olds -- is any indication, White might just threaten Getzlaf's second-year output.

White is in a groove with five helpers through Calgary's last three games and, while a player never wants to see teammates in the trainer's room, the Hitmen's recent injury woes mean White gets a chance to really dull his skates.

"Coming in, I never thought I'd get this much ice time. Now I'm on powerplay, penalty kill and getting a regular shift and it really does a lot for your confidence," he said, adding he's getting more than 20 minutes of ice time a game.

Not only is White taking a regular shift, he's currently toiling on the top line, playing centre with Andrew Ladd and Konstantin Pushkarev on the wings, while Getzlaf nurses a concussion.

White, who doesn't mind banging and crashing, admits all the playing time does take a toll on his 6-ft. 185-lb. frame, especially after the Hitmen played three games in four nights including Saturday's 2-1 loss at the Dome against Kamloops.

"I just didn't have my legs like I normally do but it's not an excuse for the loss," said White, a fourth-round Hitmen selection in the 2003 bantam draft (69th overall).

White and the Hitmen will need some shuteye with four games this week, starting with a road contest against Moose Jaw tomorrow night.

And White's played a ton over the last nine months.

His midget team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, ended a long campaign in 2004 by winning the national championship with a 2-1 overtime triumph against Quebec.

He had a direct hand in the title, assisting on the winner.

Then he made Team Western for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Lethbridge, where the boys from Saskatchewan and Manitoba walked away with the gold medal.

While he's been busy, White's also shown a penchant for being a winner, which he downplays.

"I've been on a lot of good teams, playing with some good players. If we can win the WHL title and move on, you could maybe say I'm a winner after that," said White.

The Hitmen (30-19-6-3), who have 14 games remaining this season, are third in the crowded Central Division, just one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels but two behind second-place Medicine Hat.

Calgary trails the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who lead the division, by four points.

ICE CHIPS: For the first time in the 10-year history of the Calgary Hitmen franchise, the club is going to retire a number. Brad Moran's No. 20 will ascend to the Saddledome rafters Feb. 25 prior to a contest against the Red Deer Rebels ... The Regina Pats are sending yesterday's game tape against the Brandon Wheat Kings to the league for further review. Brandon D Jonathan Webb of Okotoks was ejected after receiving a five-minute match penalty for cross-checking Pat Jordan McGillivray to the head.


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