Ice’s McNabb no cheap-shot artist

Kootenay Ice's Brayden McNabb, left, fights for the puck with Owen Sound Attack's Robby Mignardi...

Kootenay Ice's Brayden McNabb, left, fights for the puck with Owen Sound Attack's Robby Mignardi during their round-robin Memorial Cup hockey game in Mississauga, Ont., May 21, 2011. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:19 AM ET

Brayden McNabb was the first player in 12 years to be suspended at the Memorial Cup.

But the Kootenay Ice captain claims he’s no cheap-shot artist and doesn’t want his one-game sit-down for knocking out Owen Sound star Joey Hishon to be the defining moment of his trip to Mississauga this week.

“I’m not a dirty player,” the big 20-year-old from Davidson, Sask., said in his first comments since the late-game incident Saturday night. “It’s not what I do. You never want to see a player hurt and to be the guy who did that isn’t a good feeling.

“I hope he gets better in a hurry.”

That said, the Buffalo Sabres prospect indicated he won’t think twice about cutting across the ice to deliver a similar hit. He’s eligible to return Tuesday night against the Saint John Sea Dogs in a win-or-go-home scenario for the Western league champs.

“I’m not going to change the way I play,” the 6-foot-4, 218-pounder said. “I’m going to go out there and do the things I always do. I’m a big body and if there’s a chance to make an open-ice hit like that, I’m going to take it.

“I do it almost every game.”

He believes the shifty Hishon tripped a little bit and tried to duck to avoid the contact.

“But he ran into my elbow,” McNabb said. “It’s an unfortunate situation.”

It will be worse, Owen Sound head coach Mark Reeds thinks, if Hishon is out for the rest of the tournament.

“If we meet Kootenay again in an elimination game and he (McNabb) plays and Joey’s out, then that wouldn’t be fair,” Reeds said. “That’s my opinion. With the one-game suspension, it would be better if McNabb would’ve played (against Mississauga) and sat out (a playoff game) against us.

“I feel the most sorry for Joey. You get this far in the season, you want to be able to play.”

McNabb didn’t enjoy sitting in the crowd for a 2-1 loss to host Mississauga Sunday night.

“It’s harder than being out there,” he admitted, “but the guys who stepped in for me did a great job.”

The Ice needs its highest-scoring defenceman in the lineup. Kootenay has only one goal so far and is in danger of becoming the worst offensive team since the tournament switch to a four-team, round-robin format in 1983.

Canadian world junior standout Cody Eakin has the only goal — a first-period power play tally against the Majors.

“I thought we could feed off it,” he said, “but we didn’t get any more. We have a lot of gifted scorers here. We’re just trying to find our stride. When I’m not scoring, I always try to go back to basics.”

Ice sniper Max Reinhart said this is no time to squeeze the sticks..

“Our backs are against the wall now,” he said. “We have to break out of it or we won’t be here much longer. We had a few chances but we haven’t generated as many as we would’ve liked the first two games.

“Knowing the offence we have on this team, it would be extremely disappointing if we had to leave having only scored two or three goals (in three games).”

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca
twitter.com/RyanAtLFPress


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