The Prince George Cougars are looking to follow the Vancouver Canucks model and build through the draft.

The Canucks haven’t been to the playoffs since 2014-15, missing the post-season in each of the past four years.

It is only 12 games into 2019-20, but the Canucks are showing signs that there will be a payoff for their long-suffering fans.

They are off to an 8-3-1 start, two points out of first place in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand on the team they trail, the (9-4-1) Edmonton Oilers.

The Canucks, who have scored five or more goals in each of their last four games, have five players in double figures in scoring and four of them are first-round Vancouver draft picks.

Elias Pettersson has 18 points (tied for 6th overall in the NHL), Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller have 14, Bo Horvat has 11 and defenceman Quinn Hughes has 10.

Pettersson was drafted 5th overall in 2017, Boeser went 23rd overall in 2015, Horvat was selected 9th overall in 2013 and Hughes was the 7th overall pick last year in 2018.

The Canucks roster also includes other of their drafted players plus free-agent signings and those acquired in a trade.

If done correctly (drafting, trading and inking free agents) this can lead to a recipe of success.

In addition, the Canucks AHL farm team, the Utica Comets, won all eight games in October.

It’s still too far too early to make the assumption that Vancouver is on its way to becoming an elite team for years to come, but for the moment there appears to be hope, promise and a positive future.

In the WHL, the Cougars have missed the playoffs the past two years and are off to another slow start, last in the Western Conference with a 4-9-0-1 record.

Head coach/GM Mark Lamb has asked for patience while the team builds through the draft.

The Cougars are carrying four 16-year-olds (2003-born) players on their roster.

They believe at least two (2004-born) players (defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk and forward Koehn Ziemmer, the 3rd and 4th overall bantam picks this year) will be on the team next season.

All teams look for instant success something much easier said than done.

The Cougars don’t want their streak of missing playoffs to reach four years in a row like the Canucks.

However, if they can draft talent equivalent on the WHL level, as the Canucks have done in the NHL, then the Cougars will be well on their way to becoming an upper-echelon team.

The key, of course, is making sure the scouts have done their job properly, but it’s been proven drafting the right 14-year-olds is far from an exact science.

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I am not sure I am on board by calling the Washington Nationals victory over the Houston Astros a great World Series.

Yes, it was strange with the road team winning each game for the first time, and yes the Nationals showed resilience in becoming a first-time winner.

Washington went 5-0 in the postseason when facing elimination (trailing in each of those five games).

The lack of competitiveness in each game with no walk-off homers or even walk-off singles prevents this, in my mind, from being a so-called classic.

It is bizarre that the road team outscored the home team 49-14.

Look at the scores for the winning team (Washington won 5-4, 12-3, 7-2 and 6-2 on the road while Houston won 4-1, 8-1 and 7-1 as the visitors) and one will notice just one game decided by one run.

That game happened to be the opener where the Nationals led 5-2 before the Astros narrowed the gap.

Was it a World Series won the Nationals or lost by the Astros?

More specifically was it lost by Houston manager AJ Hinch?

In the 7th game, Hinch pulled Zack Greinke in the 7th inning after he allowed a homer to Anthony Rendon and a walk to Juan Soto but the Astros were still ahead 2-1 and Greinke had only thrown 80 pitches.

There was no need to panic and go to the bullpen at that stage but if that was going to be the decision then ace Gerrit Cole (on two days rest) should have been the guy on the mound.

Instead, Hinch went to Will Harris who immediately gave up a Howie Kendrick two-run, go-ahead homer and the stunned Astros never recovered.


“It’s a decision I’ll have to live with,” Hinch said.

I am not sure who feels worse, Hinch or Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.

You might recall he is the local mattress salesman who placed a $3.5 million bet in Mississippi on the Astros to win the World Series.

He also got greedy and bet another million on the Astros when they were playing Washington.


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

My guest on the seventh Cat Scan in year two is Trevor Sprague, GM of the Cariboo Cougars and a Northern BC scout for the PG Cougars.

Sprague discusses many hockey topics including how he believes the northern player has a tougher mentality than those from the south.

He also talks about winning championships and the difficulty of leaving the bench.

Trevor Sprague is unleashed this week.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
 

Two women who flashed their breasts behind home plate,  (a stunt that was briefly broadcast on Fox), during World Series game 5, have been banned from major league ballparks indefinitely. I wonder how many lousy NFL teams with sagging attendance have offered the women free season tickets?

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

Donald Trump was booed at World Series Game 5, which is ironic as his opponents are hoping he will be the one replaced by a reliever.

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

In the 2019 World Series, home field advantage meant about as much as it did in ‘Independence Day.’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

A South Carolina kickball umpire is suing his town’s mayor for allegedly having him fired after making a close call that went against the Mayor’s son.  Litigation like this can be expensive but thankfully the ump’s lawyer has agreed to foot the bill.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

The PGA Tour has suspended Matt Every for three months for using pot for his mental health. On the bright side, he’s No. 1 in the Tour rankings for landing on the greens.”

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


IN CASE YOU MISS
ED IT:

A recent survey said cheese is the most stolen food in the world. I’m wondering who funded that study? The Cheddar Business Bureau?

*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