The Prince George Cougars are nearly 1/3 of the way through their 2021-22 WHL regular-season schedule.

I would imagine the team is disappointed, frustrated, and downcast (to put it mildly) with the start, having just won only 35 % of their games with a dismal record of seven wins to go along with 13 losses.

This includes 5-0 against the Victoria Royals and just 2-13 against other WHL teams.

Expectations were higher and obviously, there is plenty of time to try and turn things around but, having dropped seven of their last eight, they are losing sight of the three teams ahead of them in the B.C. Division.

They are eight points behind the Kelowna Rockets, nine back of the Vancouver Giants, and already a whopping 20 behind the (17-2) Kamloops Blazers.

One of the goals for the Cougars this season was to land a top-three spot in the division.

If this doesn’t happen, then they would be one of four Western Conference teams chasing two post-season spots.

The Cougars are seventh in the Western Conference standings (top-eight advance) but the gap between them and the three teams below them is shrinking.

Prince George will visit the (5-11-2-1) Spokane Chiefs tonight (Friday), and the (4-11-3) Tri-City Americans on Saturday.

The Cats are only a point ahead of Spokane, and three in front of both Tri-City and the Victoria Royals, and P.G. has played more games than those three teams.

Keep in mind, when the Cougars beat up on the Royals five straight times early in the season, Victoria was missing up to nine regulars due to injury or other circumstances.

The Royals, with a full line-up, recently beat U.S. Division-leading Everett 4-3 in overtime on Friday.

Victoria also got a point in a 6-5 overtime loss Tuesday at Spokane and the Royals outscored Tri-City 4-3 in overtime Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Prince George lost 3-1 to Seattle Tuesday (shots 33-15 for Seattle) before they dropped a 6-2 decision to Portland Wednesday (shots 59-15 for Portland).

There are some glaring traits that the Cougars should be concerned with.

In no particular order, P.G. is not a come-from-behind team, sitting 0-11 when trailing after two periods.

In addition, the Cougars are not getting any free points by extending a game into overtime.

Prince George is the only WHL team not to play a game beyond regulation time.

As an example, Kelowna has played five overtime games resulting in eight points while P.G. has played none resulting in obviously zero points.

Some teams have already played up to six games in overtime.

Yet another sore spot is the power-play, ranked 21st out of 22 teams at just 12 %.

The Cougars, who went just 2-8 in the month of November, are averaging just 2.55 goals a game while allowing 3.35 per game.

If the goals for and against ratio continues (51 GF and 67 GA) then it will be a struggle to sneak into the post-season.

The lack of firepower shows with no player on the team averaging a point per game and most averaging half a point per game or less.

Naturally, there have been positives highlighted by strong goaltending from Tyler Brennan and Taylor Gauthier and excellent penalty killing which is 4th in the league.

After this weekend, the Cougars’ schedule gets difficult with four of their next 10 games against Kamloops as well as three vs. Vancouver, two against Everett, and one against Kelowna. (They are 0-3 against the Blazers and 0-4 against the Rockets).

With 48 games remaining, the Cougars, like all teams, look for improvement.

Should they show progress, they will be in the playoffs for the first time in five years.

If they stagnate, the post-season drought could very well continue.

The PG Cougars regular season schedule is right here.

The WHL standings are right here. 

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Prince George Cougars Director of Scouting Bob Simmonds is this week’s guest on the Cat Scan podcast.

During the episode, he discussed the following topics including:

  • Having two drafts to prepare for instead of one (WHL Prospects and American)
  • The process of taking the highest-rated/best player available
  • Communication between players, parents, and agents on committing players to the Cougars
  • Scout compensation in the WHL
  • The cycle of junior hockey

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

The LA Rams and NFL settled their relocation lawsuit with St. Louis — to the tune of a $790 million payout. Who knew illegal procedure could be so costly?

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

Thanksgiving can be a challenging day for people. There can be yelling, screaming, fighting, crying, too much drinking, arguments, break-ups, and even people coming out. And that’s just in the Detroit Lions’ locker room at halftime.

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg

Why is everyone so down on the Detroit Lions? They’re only 125 points away from being unbeaten.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Now it’s not just frustrated Detroit fans who are mad at their team. Chicago Bears fans know the Lions might have kept THEIR team from firing coach Matt Nagy.

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

In Case You Missed It:

A teenage girl in California made headlines after buying a muffin that turned out to look like a dog. “Tell us about it,” said Detroit Lions season ticket holders.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes)