The Kootenay Ice’s top two scorers, Zak Zborosky and Matt Alfaro, were healthy scratches in Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the Vancouver Giants for ‘precautionary’ reasons according to the team’s general manager Jeff Chynoweth.
Speaking with Vancouver’s TSN 1040 Radio, Chynoweth said that Alfaro and Zborosky were not in the team’s lineup to avoid potential injuries that could nullify a trade deal and that they are working on moves for both players.
“We’re getting close on both players [and] we hope to have something announced tomorrow,” Chynoweth told TSN 1040 in an interview that was broadcast during an intermission of the Ice-Giants game. “Unfortunately, we want to err on the side of caution tonight. I’m sure the teams that are playing tonight that are trying to move players are doing the same thing.”
The WHL trade deadline is on January 10, and Chynoweth referenced past experience as a reason for keeping the star forwards out of the game.
“Unfortunately in the past couple of years, we’ve had a player get hurt when we had a deal done with a team,” he said, adding that trading players at the WHL level is not an easy thing to do.
“This isn’t fantasy hockey and we’re dealing with young men, “ he said of making trades. “They’re kids, [they have] parents, they’re human beings — they aren’t pieces of meat.
“I mean people think, you’ve got to trade this or trade that. It’s always difficult at a good time to make a transaction, but especially at this time of year when you’re dealing with kids who have been with you three, four, maybe five years. So, it’s very difficult.”
When speaking after the game about the team’s upcoming road trip, Ice head coach Luke Pierce spoke of a future without Zborosky or Alfaro.
“The team game mentality is the biggest [focus] for us [and] not trying to fill the void of Matt and Zak by trying to play like individuals, like they do sometimes,” he said. “We [need] to make sure that we embrace a new identity and start putting our own stamp on it as a group.
“It’ll be interesting to see what we end up with — pieces that come back — if there is a deal done.”
The Ice’s next game is on Wednesday, January 11 in Swift Current where they’ll face the Broncos.