Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Regina Pats' Colton Jobke -

forced to sit due to NHL contract


Read more: The Story -

Colton Jobke will be in the building when the Regina Pats open the WHL regular season on Friday night, but he won't be in the lineup.

The 20-year-old defenceman, who's under contract to the NHL's Minnesota Wild, has been informed that he can't play for the Pats before he leaves to try out for the AHL's Houston Aeros.

"I got a call from Brent Flahr, the assistant GM in Minnesota," explained Jobke. "It was kind of bizarre. I didn't really expect a call from him so I was kind of nervous when I saw a missed call from him. He just explained that I was placed on Houston's roster for the time being until things move ahead (with the lockout) and, for insurance purposes, I wasn't allowed to play anymore."

Jobke, who had a goal and an assist in his lone exhibition appearance, will continue to practise with the Pats until he departs late next week.

"I would like to play," he noted. "I originally came back to Regina because being here would be a great experience for me to skate at a high competitive level. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing (to sit out). With injuries, it's always a possibility (of hurting his chances in Houston), but it is what it is. There are up sides or down sides."

Either way, it doesn't change Jobke's focus.

"I've been looking forward to it all summer to get down there and basically try to prove myself," he said. "It has been a bit of a waiting game the last couple months but I'm excited to get down there."

That said, Jobke expressed his disappointed at being unable to attend camp with Minnesota due to the lockout.

"Everybody is a little disappointed that an agreement couldn't come through on the 15th, but it is what it is," he added. "Unfortunately it's the business side of the game. I know the fans and everybody else would love to see the NHL season starting up but we're just going to have to wait and see what happens."

The Pats are also taking a wait-and-see approach.

"You hope he does his very best," said head coach Pat Conacher. "He wants to go and play in the American Hockey League. If he makes it, all the power to him. He has to go and find out where he stands. It's so good for players of any age to get to a pro camp. You can see where you sit with all those guys. As coaches you have to plan that he's not going to be back. If he comes back it's a bonus. You just have to go forward with what you've got and see what happens."

If Jobke returns, the Pats could have a real dilemma on their hands with five players eligible for three 20-year-old spots: Goaltender Matt Hewitt, blueliners Jobke and Brandon Underwood and forwards Andrew Rieder and Lane Scheidl.

The Pats have until the Oct. 10 overage deadline to decide on three of them. For now, the team is willing to be patient and keep all options open.

"We have the opportunity to hold on to all five of them and rotate them in and out for the first few games (if necessary)," said GM Chad Lang. "That way we get a true read on how they fit with our group and which combination best suits our team moving forward."