Rebels trade for Bellerive, Dumba gets two games
The Red Deer Rebels are hoping that the best is yet to come from their newest acquisition.
Rebels owner/president/general manager Brent Sutter acquired 1994-born forward Matt Bellerive from the Vancouver Giants on Monday in return for a third-round selection in the 2014 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Bellerive was the Giants second-round pick in the 2009 draft and has played two seasons with Vancouver, scoring 10 goals and collecting 10 assists in 90 regular-season games. The North Vancouver product, who last season sniped six goals and added eight helpers in 45 games, left the team last week to await a trade.
“He’s a guy who is still a younger player,” Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin said of Bellerive, who turns 18 in December. “We feel he has lots of potential to break out yet. He went through two seasons in Vancouver and from what I understand he left the team out of frustration.
“He’s a guy who we hope can find his way with a fresh start, a new environment. He’s a hard-nosed kid who has some ability as well. He was a good scorer at the bantam and midget levels and we’re hoping that with a change of scenery here and a fresh start that he can start to produce and be a guy who can definitely be a top-six forward for us and provide some offence.”
The five-foot-11, 188-pound winger will arrive in Red Deer today and will be in the lineup for Friday’s home date with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
l Mathew Dumba borrowed a lyric from Tom Petty on Monday and admitted that the waiting is the hardest part.
Dumba was forced to watch the remainder of Friday’s 3-2 home-ice loss to the Calgary Hitmen when he was expelled late in the first period for a head hit, which led to a scrap instigated by Darian Henry.
Dumba, under indefinite suspension, sat out Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oil Kings and was still awaiting word on the length of his sentence on Monday afternoon.
“It’s really tough just waiting and it’s difficult to be watching when you want to contribute,” he said.
The 2010-11 WHL rookie of the year and Minnesota Wild first-round NHL entry draft pick last June wasn’t defending the legality of the crushing open-ice hit that he laid on Joe Kornelson, but stopped short of suggesting he will no longer be delivering his trademark shoulder check.
“I see what happened wrong (on the Kornelson hit),” said Dumba. “Maybe if the guy had his head up and I hit him through the chest it would have been considered clean, but nowadays any contact with the head is illegal.
“I have to know that and I’ve definitely learned from this situation. Moving forward I’ll be smarter with my decision-making when I’m about to hit someone.”
So, opposing forwards who believe that Dumba is now a changed man in terms of his aggressive play should think again.
“It (aggression) is not going to come out of my game, for sure, because it’s a huge part of it,” said Dumba. “The potential of making a hit is just something that I’m going to have to react to and when I see it, it will be a judgement call on my part. Hitting will never be taken out of the game, it’s just how it’s performed. It’s about being smarter.”
Dumba learned later in the day that he’s been suspended for two games, meaning he will be eligible to return for Saturday’s contest in Calgary.
l Wallin stressed on Monday that he needs more from his veteran players, noting that the Rebels’ older skaters were error-prone during the club’s lost weekend.
“You kind of expect rookies to make mistakes as they’re finding their way, but some of the older guys — guys who have been here three to four years — are making mistakes in areas of our game that have never really changed,” said Wallin.
“It’s just details, like not over-back checking, being strong in picking up the right man down in our zone and being in shooting lanes. Little details like that make or break you. Those guys have to be sharp at it in order for the younger guys to do it. They need to lead by example and right now we’re not getting that from them.”
l Turner Elson might return to action on Friday. Yet, the Rebels overage forward might also be forced to sit after suffering a mild hip strain in Sunday’s loss.
“It’s day-to-day at this point,” said Wallin.