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The Heat Report

by Dhiren Mahiban / Calgary Flames
Abbotsford, B.C. - The Abbotsford Heat capped off the first portion of their March home games with a stellar 3-1-0-2 record thanks to a pair of wins over the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) late last week.

Last Friday night David Shantz stood tall between the pipes stopping 38-of-40 Monster shots as Abbotsford squeezed out a 3-2 shootout win. David Van Der Gulik and Radek Smolenak scored in regulation while Garth Murray picked up the shootout winner.

The following evening Jason Jaffray scored a second period hat trick and Garth Murray along with Staffan Kronwall added the others as the Heat knocked off the Monsters 5-3.
With the pair of weekend wins Abbotsford is now 34-25-4-6 on the season tied with the Hamilton Bulldogs for second place in the North Division with 78 points.

Palin Skates

Abbotsford got some positive news on the
Veteran Blue Liner Brett Palin is back skating
injury front Tuesday morning as veteran blue liner Brett Palin took part in a full practice for the first time since sustaining a concussion during a Nov. 13 tilt in Peoria.

Palin was wearing a yellow non-contact jersey during the practice and said he felt great afterwards.

“Its’ been a long break and to just get out there and kind of skate with the guys that have been doing it all year just gives me a little bit more confidence,” Palin said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and I expect to keep feeling better – hopefully I’ll be back soon.”

Palin has missed 53 games so far this season and has three assists in the 16 games he played before the injury.

Head coach Jim Playfair didn’t rule out the possibility of the 25-year-old traveling on the team’s upcoming road trip.

“To see him back out there is exciting for the team and exciting for us as coaches as well,” Playfair said. “(Brett) is still a day-to-day deal, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, hopefully ramp him up again the next day and that’s something we have to build on with him.”

Injury Update:

John Negrin (D) – Knee

Matt Pelech (D) – Upper body

Carsen Germyn (RW) – Concussion

John Armstrong (C) – Shoulder

Playfair on Head Shots

Abbostford Heat bench boss Jim Playfair
It’s a topic that has generated talk on sports radio and columns around the league post-Olympics so we let Abbtosford Heat bench boss, and former NHLer, Jim Playfair weigh in on the head shot debate:

“I think the players at some point in time have to take more responsibility for it. I think they keep looking for someone else to take care of their problems – its’ their problem. Until they decide, I think, to take responsibility for themselves and for their actions – they’re just going to wait for two people at the league head office to make all the suspensions. Obviously that’s an easy way out. I think they need to be more responsible and more accountable.”

Roster Moves

The Abbotsford Heat released Ben Gordon from his professional tryout over the weekend, the 25-year-old had two assists in four games on his second PTO with the team.

Additionally, the team welcomed left-winger Logan MacMillan late last week. The 20-year-old is on loan from the Anaheim Ducks, the club which drafted him 19th overall in 2007.
“Logan’s a really talented kid obviously, he’s got lots of desire and jump,” Playfair said. “He wants to get himself back into good shape and become a player again so I think his approach has been excellent.”

The Minnesota native is currently nursing an upper body injury and will not be available to the team on its’ upcoming road trip.

Look ahead

The Abbotsford Heat will depart Thursday on their lone road trip of the month as they’ll play visitors in Lake Erie Saturday and Toronto Sunday.

Sunday’s game against the Marlies is one that’s been circled on the calendar for a while now as it will mark the Heat’s debut on national television.

The Abbotsford at Toronto tilt will air on the CBC at 10 AM/PT to honor the Canadian Armed forces as part of Salute the Troops Day.

“I think it’s good for our players to be able to have their family and friends to have a view of what they’re doing and I think it’s important for the league to have that exposure,” Playfair said. “I think it’s respectful of the CBC to put two American Hockey League teams both based in Canada on the network.

“I think if we can get some more people interested in the game that’s what we have to do.”

Playoff Watch

With just 11 games remaining on the schedule Abbotsford needs to pick up just 13 points to secure a spot in the post-season regardless of what Lake Erie, who currently occupies fifth place in the North Division, does the rest of the way.

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