Photo courtesy of Ryan Pulock

Former Wheat King continues NHL success

 

There were 189 games left on the schedule and 3.5 weeks left in the NHL’s regular-season before Gary Bettman announced the league was being suspended due to the growing concern of COVID-19. The suspension came one day after the NBA suspended play when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

It’s been two weeks since we last watched an NHL game. The last time the New York Islanders played was on March 10, 15 days ago. Grandview’s Ryan Pulock played more than 26:00 minutes in that game in a 5-4 shootout loss against the Vancouver Canucks. The Isles’ entered the stoppage in play with a record of 35-23-10.

Pulock is now back in Manitoba in self-isolation.

“Everyone had the feeling that it was going to take one guy in the sports world to get it and that would shut everything down,” said Pulock. “And that’s what happened. When Gobert tested positive in the NBA, we knew it was just a matter of time until we shut down.”

(Photo credit – wheatkings.com) Ryan Pulock played four seasons in Brandon.

Being back home gives Pulock a chance to digest the season it was so far. The former Brandon Wheat King was well on his way to a career season. He registered 35 points (10G) in 68 games. His previous high in points was last year when he added up 37 points (9G). So he’s already scored more goals than last year and he’s played in 14 fewer games. You could also call him Mr. Durable. He played in all 82 games last season with the team and he hasn’t missed a single game this season.

“Every year I kind of want to produce a little bit more and help the team,” added Pulock. “I was clearly on pace to achieve that this season so that’s a nice thing. It’s something I can use moving forward whether the season continues this year or moving forward into next year.”

From October 12 until November 23, the team earned at least a single point in 17 straight games. However, wins have been hard to come by recently for Pulock and the rest of the team. They lost seven straight games leading up to the league-wide suspension. Four of which came in extra time which earned the team a point, but the team has now dropped out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, albeit by just one point.

“We got some good bounces during that time when we were winning games and we were just playing a solid game,” he continued. “During this skid, there have been some key injuries and we just haven’t gotten things going. Good teams find ways to get out of these kinds of slumps. We expected to do that because there was a lot of hockey left before the stoppage.”

“Our division has been so strong this season, there are so many teams that have solid lineups and can win on any night and put streaks together,” he continued.

When it comes to their division, the Islanders are in sixth. They’re behind Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Columbus. However, they’re only 10 points back of the Capitals for the top spot in the Metro. The Rangers are one point back of the Isles’ while New Jersey is well back.

So the season has produced a massive winning streak and also a rather lengthy losing streak. All of that is in the past and no one is sure what the future is set to bring. With more than 15,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in New York alone, it’s a scary time. Add the growing concern now in Canada and across the United States, there has been no estimation on when the season can resume.

“I’m honestly not trying to think about the game that much right now, I’m just trying to relax and refresh a bit here,” continued Pulock. “With that said, I’m pretty fortunate that my neighbour here at the lake has an outdoor skating rink so I’ve been on the ice a bit and I’m staying in shape.”

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    Darnell Duff
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      There were 189 games left on the schedule and 3.5 weeks left in the NHL’s regular-season before Gary Bettman announced the league was being sus
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