Welcome to the best time of the year in sports!

NHL

The NHL regular season is two days old and with this being early October, the Buffalo Sabres still believe they can win the Stanley Cup and the Vancouver Canucks are convinced they will be in the playoffs.

The Canucks, in their 50th anniversary season, tried a new strategy by losing their season opener.

Each of the past four years when the Canucks won their first game, they missed the playoffs.

Okay, the streak had actually been five straight years that Vancouver scored a victory in its opening game, but let’s not get too technical.

How’s this for optimism? The majority of fans (61%), in a poll conducted by TSN 1040, think the team is postseason-bound.

The Canucks finished 2018-19 with 81 points in 82 games (35-36-11) and nine points out of the playoffs.

Yes, I will go along with they will be improved and could close in on the 90-point plateau but I still don’t think it will be enough to get in.

At best, they are the 5th top Canadian team out of seven and I would rank them sixth.

Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary have considerably more talent, Connor McDavid will make sure that Edmonton takes a leap forward and Montreal is always competitive as long as Carey Price is in the net.

By default, Vancouver is better than Ottawa as the Senators still look to be the worst team in the league.

NFL:

The NFL has already reached the quarter-pole and there haven’t been too many games better than the Thursday game in Seattle where the Seahawks won 30-29, only because the LA Rams missed a makeable field goal, from 44-yards out, in the dying seconds.

The NFC is wide open, where more than half of the 16 teams can legitimately claim they have a shot at the Super Bowl.

It’s quite different in the AFC, where Kansas City and New England are considerably ahead of the field, just like a year ago.

MLB:

The post-season is here and there are not many better days than today with four playoff games, spread out so that one game follows another.

The Houston Astros have the most well-rounded team.

They should get to the World Series but I think they will have a more difficult time with Tampa in the ALDS than in the ALCS against the NY Yankees-Minnesota winner.

In the NL, the LA Dodgers have the best roster as they look to capture the big prize for the first time in 31 years.

An Astros-Dodgers World Series is the betting favourite, which means at least one of those teams won’t get there.

NBA:

Pre-season has already started and the Toronto Raptors are just 18 days away from beginning defence of their title on October 22nd when they host New Orleans.

The Raptors may not repeat but they are in a rare situation whereas defending champions they are trying to again earn respect.

So, who do you think will have a better season, the Raptors in the weaker Eastern Conference or Kawhi Leonard with the LA Clippers in the Western Conference?

The answer is not as clear as perhaps the oddsmakers have suggested (Clippers tops at +350 while the Raptors are 12th at +5500).


Prince George:

The Prince George Cougars, PG Spruce Kings and Cariboo Cougars are nicely underway while the UNBC Timberwolves are in the home stretch of their Canada West soccer seasons.

The (3-2-3) UNBC women, who have their last home games this weekend, appear a good bet to make the playoffs, while the (4-5-2) UNBC men, with just four games to go, need wins and perhaps a little help if they are to get out of the basement and leap into a postseason berth.

While temperatures have turned cold in PG and around many parts of the country, the sports feast is as hot as it gets.

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This is season two of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that primarily features the PG Cougars.

My third guest for year two is Cougars VP of Business Andy Beasley.

Andy touches on a wide range of topics including in-game features, upcoming promos, music choice at home games, listening to his youthful staff, the loss of Gary Samis, what are real attendance numbers and his downtime on a motorcycle.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test before the Kentucky Derby, yet was not being stopped from racing.  This was one case where the winning jockey, Mike Smith, really did have to get down off his high horse.

*Patti Dawn Swanson of the River City Renegade.

Dee Snider of Twisted Sister slammed the NFL’s choice for the Super Bowl Halftime Show saying they are ignoring “Heavy music.” Apparently, he’s at the point where he’s not going to take it anymore.

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

Oregon’s uniforms continue to get more and more outrageous, which begs the question—can you imagine Johnny Unitas and his black high tops in a Ducks uniform? I’m thinking Sir Winston Churchill falling out in a costume from Elton John.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Steelers, Raiders, Patriots, Nike, Pepsi, Pizza Hut …Antonio Brown has played only one game this
season, and that’s already six drops.

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

The House of Representatives just voted unanimously to impeach the Washington Redskins.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

Has anyone seen the spread this weekend for Miami Dolphins vs Bye Week?

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


IN CASE YOU MISS
ED IT:

A Turkish morgue reportedly installed motion-detecting alarms in case the dead come back to life. In a related story, motion detectors are being installed in the Miami Dolphins dressing room.

*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