Welcome to scoreboard watching. It’s an annual event, where in the stretch drive, teams often become just as consumed about the out of town scoreboard as they do about their own game result. For the purposes of this column, I will concentrate on the WHL, but the principles apply to virtually every organized league where standings are scrutinized around the clock.

Upper echelon teams generally don’t have to worry about results elsewhere because they win consistently and have a playoff spot locked up well before the regular season concludes. The Kelowna Rockets, for example, are the best team in the BC Division and the Western Conference, so if they beat out the Brandon Wheat Kings for first overall it is not that significant.

In another category, there are competent teams that also do not have to live and die by scores from other cities. The Victoria Royals are locked into 2nd place in the BC Division. They won’t be moving up or down from that position, so they will fine tune their game before playoffs when they will meet the third place team.

This takes us to scoreboard watchers; bubble teams who haven’t been productive enough themselves and would appreciate a little help.

The Kamloops Blazers, Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars are in this category, all with losing records, but with high hopes of securing that last post-season position. Kamloops has the advantage, sitting third in the Division with the 8th best record in the Western Conference, three points ahead of Vancouver and four in front of Prince George. Moreover, it appears all five U.S. Division teams will qualify for the post-season, leaving the bottom two in the B.C. Division on the outside looking in.

Scoreboard watching is similar to snakes and ladders; lots of ups and downs. The Cougars can find it enjoyable each time Kamloops and Vancouver loses, particularly if a loss occurs in regulation time. On the other hand, getting those out of town results can be demoralizing and ruin one’s night when P.G. sees the Blazers or Giants score a victory. It’s a double whammy when the result is Kamloops 3-2 over Vancouver in a shootout, which was the case last Saturday.

The Cougars can blame themselves for being at the bottom. It’s been a month since they have won a game as the mental anguish and stress takes its toll on the entire organization. It seems each of the last few seasons the Cats are victims of scoreboard watching, and it hasn’t been a rewarding experience since they have been left out of the post-season party since 2011.

The schedule doesn’t favor Prince George. The Blazers have 19 games left (7 road, 12 home), the Giants have 21 remaining (10 road, 11 home) and the Cougars have 19 games to go (11 road, 8 home).

The Cougars have no games left with the Giants but have four remaining against the Blazers, two at CN Centre and two in Kamloops, all from March 11th to 21st at the end of the season.

Kamloops also has two games remainig against Vancouver, once on the road (Feb 21) and once at home (Feb 28).

The Blazers appeared out of contention until they turned their fortunes around and at the same time received plenty of help from their good friend, the out of town scoreboard.

Yes, the situation changed in a hurry. The Cougars have lost their last 12 games and in that stretch have just two points to show for it (an overtime and a shootout loss). The Giants have also been in the tank over their last dozen with just five points in their last 12 games (2-9-0-1).

The Blazers took advantage of the Cats and Giants tailspin by earning 15 points (7-4-1) in 12 January games and that’s why they moved into the driver’s seat. Kamloops must be pleased with the acquisition of defenceman Marc McNulty, as they have a winning record with him in the lineup, since he was acquired from P.G for Josh Connolly just prior to the trade deadline.

Players, coaches, executives and front office staff with the Cougars, Blazers and Giants will all preach for the last 1/4 of the regular season that they just have to concentrate on their own results and by winning each time out everything else will take care of itself.

In theory, this may be true, but in reality, the out of town scoreboard will play a prominent role in the fate of three teams seeking that one final elusive playoff spot.

From the Quote Rack:

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has reportedly been offered a leading role in a new movie: “The Wrongest Yard.”

Is Pete Carroll’s Internet alias “Clueless in Seattle”?

Comedy writer Marc Ragovin

The air went out of the New England Patriots footballs and right into Pete Carroll’s head.

Johnny Manziel has checked into rehab—this just in: three local Las Vegas casino workers unions have filed for bankruptcy.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Hear that Pete Carroll was supposed to throw out the first pitch at a Mariners game. But fans are asking Seattle management if Marshawn Lynch can just run the ball in instead.

Richard Sherman’s pregnant girlfriend told him not to skip the Super Bowl if she had gone into labor the day of the game. Makes sense, what woman wants to be going through the delivery process with a guy who is yelling louder than she is?

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Marshawn Lynch finished the Super Bowl in “Least Mode”.

Brigham Young U has signed Motekiai Langi, a 6’7″, 410-pound teenager. How does a growing kid get that big? If he ever becomes a Seahawk, look forward to “Feast Mode”.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

And in case you missed it:

That’s it; I’m going to stop making Deflategate jokes. Or at least I’ll air on the side of caution.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat. His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller