The Prince George Cougars have not won a game in four weeks since a 5-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday, Dec 17th.
That is a bit misleading.
Yes, the Cougars have not won in their last five (two points over that stretch for overtime and a shootout loss) but they have had two extended breaks over that time.
One was the scheduled Christmas break (from Dec 19th to 27th) but the other one was thanks to nobody’s friend, Mr. COVID-19.
The Cougars have been chomping at the bit since their last game, a 7-1 loss in Kamloops on New Year’s Day.
They had home doubleheaders on Jan 7th and 8th against Victoria and Jan 11th and 12 against Kelowna postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.
Now their schedule gets hectic unless, of course, the virus acts up again.
The Cougars get a national TSN appearance tonight (Friday) at 7:00 in Langley against the Vancouver Giants in the first of a double-header.
They also play Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
P.G. will return home for make-up games against Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday plus a regularly scheduled home and home against the Blazers, Fri Jan 21st at CN Centre and Sat Jan 22nd in Kamloops.
Believe me, no one will complain about six games in nine nights in three different cities as long as they get played and not delayed.
The Cougars still have three make-up games, one against Victoria and two against Kelowna.
With the regular season not going to end until April 3rd, there is plenty of time to add those in.
The problem becomes if more games succumb to the virus.
In the WHL right now, the games played discrepancy is not so bad in the Western Conference where each of the 10 teams has played anywhere from 30 to 34 games.
P.G. is right in the middle with 32.
In the Eastern Conference though, there is a whopping 8-game difference with Edmonton at 36 games played compared to Lethbridge with 28.
The WHL insists all 22 teams will play a full 68-game regular-season schedule.
Ideally, they want it completed by the first weekend of April but that may not be possible.
With many teams only allowed to play to 50 % capacity, this becomes another financial strain, especially when one considers many make-up games will likely have to go mid-week.
In Tuesday’s edition of Taking Note, columnist Greg Drinnan wrote “In a pre-Christmas appearance on Donnie and Dhali — The Team, Ron Toigo, Vancouver the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, said his WHL team’s losses reached seven figures for 2020-21.
Asked about the economics involved in operating a team in these trying times, Toigo replied:
“There is no economics to it. Last year, we lost north of a million dollars. We’re probably going to be maybe not that bad this year but we’re certainly going to be in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. Just our team . . . when you spread it across the league it is significant and material.”
If the Giants are losing more than a million one could only imagine the amount of red ink that has hit the Cougars, keeping in mind Vancouver has less travel than P.G. and better attendance on average per home game.
The WHL is pretty much like every league, trying to slot make-up games in.
The NHL has a bigger discrepancy although they have a lengthy February break (which originally was going to be used to send players to the Olympics) to help make up the games.
In the Eastern Conference, Tampa Bay has played 39 games while the New York Islanders are 10 less with 29.
That is quite a gap to make-up and playing a bunch of games with little time off is where injuries add up.
On an injury report, some players are listed as day-to-day.
Now leagues are in a position to have a schedule report.
As of the moment, that schedule report would show all games are listed as day-to-day.
Cat Scan podcast:
Prince George Cougars goaltending coach Taylor Dakers is this week’s guest on the Cat Scan podcast.
During the episode, he discussed a number of topics including:
- The Cougars trading Taylor Gauthier
- His journey to becoming the starter during his playing days in Kootenay
- The rewarding part of being a goalie coach
- Preparation with Tyler Brennan and Ty Young during practices and game days
- On how there is more teaching involved since the Gauthier trade
CAT SCAN: @Hartley_Miller sits down with @PGCougars goaltending coach Taylor Dakers in this week’s episode
| https://t.co/sUNMC400OV #cityofpg #PrinceGeorgeBC #northernbc #sports #northernuprising pic.twitter.com/11Ec4bA82u
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) January 13, 2022
All WHL teams now cleared for action . . . Hurricanes to add two ex-players to Wall of Honour . . . 2022 WJC soon to have new dates https://t.co/PzDoO3KjuW
— Gregg Drinnan (@gdrinnan) January 14, 2022
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Fox Sports has wrested the Belmont Stakes broadcast from NBC, starting in 2023. Well, they were the 7-5 morning-line favorite.
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
The College Football National Championship was Monday night. The 2022 Preseason College Football Rankings came out Tuesday. (No, this is not a joke. Although the idea that college football is about student-athletes might be.)
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
There is one consolation for the loser of the American College Football Championship game—–within minutes of the final gun, Alabama was automatically picked by the media as favorites to win it all the following season.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially cut Antonio Brown. Other teams in the league are busy locking up their ten-foot poles that they will not touch Brown with.
*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg
In Case You Missed It:
Astronomers said people in the eastern half of the U.S. may have seen an occultation — the disappearance of a star. Note to Buccaneers fans: we don’t mean Antonio Brown.
*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)