That’s better!

A thorough look at the Prince George Cougars 2019-20 regular season schedule shows a marked improvement over the previous year.

There is no such thing as a perfect schedule for any of the 22 WHL teams but the Cougars have accomplished their goal of a better balance when it comes to home and away games.

Here are some of my observations when comparing this upcoming season to last.

2019-20: The Cougars longest road trip is six games and that is to the Prairies in January.
2018-19: The Cougars had a stretch of 11 consecutive road games (prior to and after the Christmas break) that started their tailspin.

2019-20:  The Cougars last December home game is Dec. 14 and their first home game in January is Jan. 3 which is less than three weeks apart.
2018-19:   
The Cougars last December home game was December 2 and their first home game in January was  Jan. 11, a stretch of nearly six weeks.

2019-20: The Cougars have 22 home dates on the prime nights of Friday and Saturday (11 each).
2018-19:
The Cougars had 18 home dates on Fridays and Saturdays.

2019-20: The Cougars have no Sunday home games.
2018-19: 
The Cougars had four Sunday afternoon home games.

Note: The Sunday experiment did not work as shifting those games to a Friday or Saturday is much preferred.

2019-20: The Cougars start the season at home, a doubleheader against the Vancouver Giants Sept. 20 and 21.
2018-19:
The Cougars started their season with three road games before they had their home opener a week after the season began.

2019-20: The Cougars close their regular season with five on the road (which follows a stretch of six of seven home games).
2018-19: 
The Cougars closed with a home game against Kamloops.

Note: This is the first time in several seasons the Cougars will not conclude with a home and home against the Blazers.

2019-20: The Cougars have 11 home dates on a Tuesday (5) or a Wednesday (6).
2018-19:
The Cougars also had 11 home dates on a Tuesday (6) or a Wednesday (5).

2019-20: The Cougars have a home game on Family Day at 2 PM.
2018-19:
The Cougars had a home game on Family Day at 2 PM.

Note: Perhaps a tradition has started with a Family Day game at CN Centre.

2019-20: The Cougars have one six-game homestand (late Jan early Feb), everything else is four home games at a time or less.
2018-19:
The Cougars had one six-game homestand and another five-game homestand.

2019-20: The Cougars host the six Central Division teams once each.
2018-19: 
The Cougars hosted the five East Division teams once each.

2019-20: The Cougars have 13 home doubles against the same opponent.
2018-19: 
The Cougars had 13 home doubles against the same opponent.

The Cougars would love to be able to reduce the home doubles against the same team but they understand that the league has made it clear the request is not a reality.

The Cougars annual ‘Teddy and Toque Toss Night’ will be December 14 against Victoria and ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ will be their second-last home game on March 6 against Vancouver.

A breakdown of the 34 home dates has five against both Kamloops and Kelowna, four each against Vancouver and Victoria, two each against the five U.S. Division teams (Everett, Portland, Spokane, Tri-City and Seattle) and one each against the six Central Division teams (Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Swift Current).

All in all, the Cougars have one of their best overall and home schedules.

Now it’s up to the team to take advantage and win more games.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

They used to call interim New York Mets pitching coach 82-year-old Phil Regan, ‘The Vulture’. These days, the only vultures associated with Phil are the ones circling him.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The Mets have apologized for manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas threatening a reporter. The reporter isn’t pressing charges as the last thing he was worried about was the Mets actually being able to hit.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Kevin Durant declined his $31.5 million player option and will become an unrestricted free agent. Even before his injury, Durant was frustrated with the nonstop media attention. Fortunately, he won’t have to deal with much of that if he goes to New York.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The NBA has fined the NY Knicks for barring a disfavored beat reporter from a recent news conference.  Let me get this straight: they won’t allow the guy to cover the team?  The reporter should be happy he doesn’t have to deal with them.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

French golfer Clement Berardo got disqualified from a European Tour Challenge Tour event in Spain when he ran out of balls on the 16th hole. Forget three strikes — no balls and you’re out!

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

German health researchers say they’ve created an easy chair that emits an annoying sound telling you it’s time to get out of your seat and go take a walk. Not to be outdone, TSN renewed the contract of Pierre McGuire.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.