For the most part, the evaluation process is over, and so is training camp.
The Kamloops Blazers will get down to the routine of practising today as they get ready to play their first WHL exhibition games.
The Blazers will visit the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and return home to face the Vancouver Giants on Sunday, 6 p.m. (On Saturday, the Rockets will play the Giants in Ladner.)
On Wednesday night, the Blazers put the wraps on another training camp as Team Blue scored an 8-4 victory over Team White in the annual intrasquad game.
For veteran forwards JC Lipon and Colin Smith, both 20 years of age, it may have been their last time in a Blazers uniform.
Lipon leaves next week for Winnipeg and the camp of the NHL's Jets, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft. Smith departs Friday and will end up in Denver at the Colorado Avalanche's camp.
Lipon has yet to sign a pro contract; Smith is under contract to Colorado, which selected him in the seventh round in 2012.
"We're moving forward without them," Blazers head coach Dave Hunchak said. "If we get them back, great.
"Our plan is to move forward without them. Those are big holes we need to plug somehow. Veteran guys need to step in."
Hunchak has talked with Dean Chynoweth, the general manager and head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters, the Cleveland-based AHL affiliate of the Avalanche.
Based on those conversations, Hunchak said: "I don't expect to get Colin Smith back."
As for Lipon, he could end up with the AHL's St. John's IceCaps.
"He'll do everything he can do stay there, as he should," Hunchak said of Lipon. "For us to be sitting here and hoping that one of those guys comes back isn't right. From an organizational standpoint, we want to move players up."
Without Lipon and Smith, the Blazers are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster - defenceman Sam Grist and centre Joe Kornelsen. WHL teams are allowed to dress three such players per game.
Last night, the Blue guys erased a 1-0 deficit with three straight second-period goals, courtesy of Jake Kryski and Swiss imports Tim Bozon and Edson Harlacher. Cole Ully, with two, Deven Sideroff, Kornelsen and Matt Needham also scored for Blue.
Team White got two goals from Chase Souto and singles from the Lipon brothers, Mitch and JC.
Hunchak quite liked what he saw, noting that the coaches have done some work on systems, some of which was evident on the ice.
"It was good as far as structure," Hunchak said of the game, adding that some players had picked up the defensive-zone coverage and the forecheck in the neutral zone.
As for the much-watched scrap for the position backing up starting goaltender Taran Kozun, Liam McLeod, 17, of Kamloops may have put himself back into the picture with a stellar performance for Team White. He had struggled in a controlled scrimmage on Tuesday, but looked much more confident last night.
He and Kozun, who started for Team Blue, each gave up one goal.
Cole Kehler, who took over from Kozun, was beaten three times, while Cam Pateman, who finished up for Team White, gave up six goals. Team Blue also had an empty-netter.
JUST NOTES: Hunchak said he expects the Rockets to "dress a good team" on Friday. "They will be motivated from last season," he said. . . . The Blazers swept Kelowna from a second-round playoff series last spring. . . . Hunchak also said the Blazers will be wanting to push the Rockets. "We want to make sure to put our best foot forward every game," he said. . . . Colorado's three-day rookie camp opens Sept. 8 in Denver, with main camp starting Sept. 12. Smith, who signed a three-year NHL contract earlier this season, is on the roster wearing No. 37. . . . Ryan Huska, who won three Memorial Cups as a player with the Blazers, has signed a three-year extension as head coach of the Rockets. Huska, 38,now is signed through 2016-17. He is going into his seventh season as the Rockets' head coach and his 12th season with the organization.