Ebbett biding time

Vernon's Andrew Ebbett plays waiting game as Vancouver Canucks regroup after first-round Stanley Cup playoff exit.

Andrew Ebbett hopes to sign a new deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

Andrew Ebbett hopes to sign a new deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

Andrew Ebbett spent this week doing garden and yard work in between a Tigers-Houston Astros game at Comerica Park in Detroit.

The 30-year-old Vernon minor hockey product is an unrestricted free agent, or UFA, as they are known in the NHL. He finds out in early July whether the Vancouver Canucks believe he’s worthy of keeping around for another year or two.

In the meantime, he and his wife, Maggie, will enjoy their new home in Canton, just 23 miles west of HockeyTown and 27 miles east of Ann Arbor, where Ebbett racked up 38 goals and 153 points with the Michigan Wolverines.

“We’re out in the woods and it’s relaxing,” said Ebbett. “It’s an old farm house on two acres. We’ve got deer in our back yard. Every night, there are two or three families of them. There is a wetlands and park next to us. It was the second place we looked at, and when I saw my wife’s face two steps into the door, I knew we were buying it.”

Ebbett played in two of Vancouver’s four playoff games against San Jose, and while he digests the surprise sweep, he doesn’t believe a major blow-up is required.

“We played decent in the second game. We missed an empty net and they came back and won in overtime. We also took a couple stupid penalties. In Game 4, they had 21 shots on the powerplay so that was a big difference. It’s frustrating because we could have easily been the team up 2-0.

“Last year, L.A. outplayed us. They were a team on a roll. San Jose had better personnel in past years, but they were more of a team this year. (Logan) Couture is the straw that stirs the drink, so to speak.”

Ebbett spoke to some Canucks as they cleared out their lockers last week.

“I told some of the guys this team has been a creature of our own success. Other teams would die to have won six division titles in seven years and two President’s Trophies in three years.”

At 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, Ebbett doesn’t have the muscle to play like a fourth-line grinder. Instead, he offers speed, vision and versatility. He has been a point-a-game player at the AHL level, recording 236 points in 247 games over five seasons.

The former Salmon Arm SilverBack also showed he can produce in the NHL if given the chance, pocketing 8-24-32 and a plus-8 rating in 48 games in his rookie campaign with the Ducks in 2008-09. He earned six points in 28 games with the Canucks and another 32 points in 37 tilts with the Chicago Wolves this year.

Ebbett, who makes $600,000 a season, believes he is a bargain depth player.

“I have a good relationship with the management in Vancouver. I’ve been pretty consistent and they know what they’re getting. I’m like a security blanket. I can start as the 13th forward and move up. I would like to be part of a winner and have some playoff success.”

In Chicago, Ebbett starred on the top line with AHL veterans Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling. He also got a few shifts with Canuck star-in-waiting Zach Kassian.

“Kassian has a ton of potential. He’s strong and he has real good hands and a real good shot. People forget he’s only 22. You have to be patient with some players, especially young, big guys in the NHL.”

While he has no immediate family left in Vernon, Ebbett will attend Canuck teammate Cam Barker’s wedding in Summerland in early August.

Schneider wins Pucksters title

Canuck prospect Stefan Schneider shot 75 Saturday to win the Les Schaeffer Trophy in the 33rd annual Pucksters Golf Tournament at Spallumcheen.

The event is put on by Charlie Briskham, Garney Howard and the Vernon Canadians Oldtimers hockey club.

Director Clark Inglis, who played some college baseball in Washington State, also carded a 75, losing to Schneider by retrogression. Inglis pocketed the Red Sutherland Trophy for low net.

Odie Lowe, who played four games for the New York Rangers and won the 1956 Allan Cup with the Vernon Canadians, and Ron Hutchinson, who had nine games with the Rangers after winning the 1957 Memorial Cup with the Flin Flon Bombers, were among the honoured guests.

Schneider, a 6-foot-5, 210 pound centre, collected seven points in 32 games with the AHL Chicago Wolves. He also played two AHL tilts with the Peoria Rivermen and eight with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings.

Bayda big help for Blades

Ryan Bayda, who boosted the Vernon Vipers to the 1999 Royal Bank Cup title, helped the Saskatoon Blades prepare for the Memorial Cup at a practice last Monday in Warman.

Bayda, a former Carolina Hurricane back in Toon Town after a third year in Germany, and nine other pros or university players, scrimmaged against the Blades, whose last WHL game was March 27.

The group simulated some of the powerplay schemes used by teams in the running for the Major Junior tournament.

“It gives the Blades some competition instead of just playing against each other,” Bayda told The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. “When you do that, you start to learn everyone’s tendencies and start cheating a little bit.”

Bayda, as a 17-year-old, racked up 82 points on the Vipers’ powerful KBG line with Tyler Knight and Lanny Gare before going to the University of North Dakota.