King-sized mystery

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

What the heck is wrong with the Wheat Kings?

The hosts of next spring's Memorial Cup in Brandon came into the season loaded for bear.

Most pundits agreed the WHL championship was a foregone conclusion -- a two-horse race with the division-rival Saskatoon Blades at worst.

But a 5-4-0-1 start, which has the Wheaties mired in fourth place in their own division, is cause for concern in Wheatland.

Veteran snipers Matt Calvert and Brayden Schenn were named co-captains on the weekend, moments before the Wheat Kings were blown out 7-3 at home by the Kootenay Ice.

As one of the team's newly elected leaders, Calvert was prepared to shoulder some of the blame.

"I just think we weren,t ready to come to play," Calvert told the Brandon Sun.

"I guess you could throw it on us and say we have to get the boys more ready, but I guess we're in a learning process right now.

"Obviously, we don't want to give up seven at home and lose, but we're learning and we're going to rebound."

The Calgary Hitmen also beat the Wheat Kings in their own barn last week, leaving Schenn to hope for more success on the road.

"It was absolutely disappointing," Schenn told the Brandon Sun.

"I was embarrassed ... We haven't played well in our barn lately and I think it's good for us to get on the road and get back to the realization that hard work wins you hockey games."

The Wheaties' quick two-game road trip didn't yield the results they were looking for.

The Rebels reeled off three unanswered third-period goals to post a 5-4 victory over Brandon at the Centrium on the weekend. The Wheat Kings did bounce back with a 4-1 win in Edmonton the following night.

Schenn, expected to contend for the league-scoring crown this season, said he'll do whatever it takes to turn his club's fortunes around.

Wearing the 'C' is just icing on the cake.

"Obviously, it's a real honour getting named co-captain, Schenn said.

"There have been a lot of good captains in Wheat King history and I am just happy to be a part of that group."

Young Cats taking lumps

The Prince George Cougars have one of the youngest lineups in the league.

And they're taking their lumps. The Cats, with 10 rookies suiting up, have lost five straight and have been outscored 32-7 in the process.

Head coach Dean Clark said his team will try to regroup over the next few days.

"Unfortunately, right now it's a combination of things," Clark told the Prince George Citizen. "Am I discouraged? Not at all. I think we have to work to get better. The way our schedule is right now, I'm glad we have it because we can practise a little bit, with not many games.

"That will give us some time to get some guys back that are hurt. Being young and not having some veterans in the lineup, that adds up to some long nights."

Reigning CHL rookie of the year Brett Connolly is out with a hip problem while forward Marek Viedensky and overage blueliners Dallas Jackson and Garrett Thiessen are also on the sidelines.

Rockets land Ketting

The Kelowna Rockets acquired goaltender Chad Ketting, 18, from the Swift Current Broncos for a 2011 conditional seventh-round bantam draft pick.

The Rockets also announced overage goaltender Mark Guggenberger, the star of last spring's Memorial Cup run, will undergo surgery for a sports hernia and will be out for at least six weeks.

SCOTT.FISHER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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