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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars time to shine) January 27th, 2023 EDITION...

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars time to shine) January 27th, 2023 EDITION 925

The Prince George Cougars have hit the favourable part of their schedule.

After mustering seven points on a seven-game road trip (3-3-1) the Cougars are back home and there are no excuses why their slightly below .500 record (19-20-4) should not take a significant step forward over the next several weeks.

Here are some reasons why:

The Cougars’ next five games are all at home and all against teams well below .500.

They entertain Prince Albert (11th out of 12 in the Eastern Conference) Saturday night at 6:00 on the Indigenous night at CN Centre.

They host Victoria (9th out of 10 in the Western Conference) on February 3rd and 4th and entertain Kelowna (8th in the Western Conference) on Feb 7th and 8th.

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If the Cougars are as good as they believe they are, the team should come away with no less than seven out of a possible 10 points from their next five games.

Of the Cougars’ next 23 games, only four of them are against teams with a winning record.

One on the road at Kamloops (Feb. 11th), one at home against Saskatoon (Feb 14th), and a pair at home against Portland (Feb 20th and 21st).

The Cougars will go into a three-week stretch from Feb 24th to March 18th where they will play 13 games, all against teams with sub. 500 records (five against Victoria, four vs. Vancouver, two against Kelowna, and two vs. Spokane).  Seven of those 13 will be at home.

The only difficult part of that stretch will be playing three road games in as many days, March 10th and 11th in Victoria and March 12th in Langley.

 They have a whopping 16 of their remaining 25 games in front of their fans.

That’s right, they only have nine road games remaining before playoffs – granted, the Cougars have not played well yet on home ice (7-9-2).

Here are other factors to consider as to why P.G. should be racking up more wins over the last third of their 68-game schedule compared to either of their first two-thirds.

–There should be no complaints about a lack of practice time: ie this week they only have one game, next week they only have two, and the week of February 13th they only have one.

–They are relatively healthy with the exception of Cole Dubinsky, who could be on the sidelines for a few more weeks.

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–The Cougars’ new key acquisitions (all older players brought in for the stretch drive and the post-season) have had some time to settle in and get to know their new teammates: 19-year-old Zac Funk has six points in six games since coming in a trade with Calgary, 20-year-old enforcer Jaxsen Wiebe has 15 points and 63 penalty minutes since he came to Prince George via a trade with Edmonton and the 20-year-old Dubinsky has 16 points in 17 games since he arrived in P.G. following a deal with Regina.

The goal for the Cougars is to finish 4th in the Western Conference and get home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They currently sit sixth but are just three points behind Everett and Tri-City with the easiest schedule remaining of the three teams.

If they end up 5th that would be a nice consolation prize since they would achieve their goal of avoiding the powers of the Western Conference; Seattle, Portland, and Kamloops, in the first round. Should the Cougars settle for 6th or 7th, (Vancouver is just two points behind them) then it is clear they underachieved.

You may be asking what if they slide to 8th? Mathematically possible but with an 11-point cushion on 8th place Kelowna and 9th place Victoria there is only a remote chance of that occurring so at this time it is not even worth a discussion.

The Cougars are 11-5 this season against teams that currently have a losing record.

Based on that, the fourth-best power-play in the league, a high-powered offense averaging nearly four goals a game (3.88), the Cougars, on paper, should finish strong.

But will they?

That’s what the next two months will determine.

Cat Scan podcast:


Taking Note:


Forecasters are predicting a cold snap this weekend in Prince George, with lows in the minus 20s. That’s colder than Bruce Boudreau’s relationship with Jim Rutherford.

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*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

In the upcoming film ’80 for Brady’, four elderly friends–played by Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Lily Tomlin—embark on a journey to see their hero, Tom Brady, play in the Super Bowl. So, what do we call this group if this journey somehow ends up going through a certain town in Northern British Columbia? Right, the Prince George Cougars.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

At FedEx Field, Washington Commanders now have NFL’s first sportsbook inside a stadium. Fans can bet on a variety of sports, but not when Commanders are playing at home. This means for the foreseeable future the new sportsbook should be a fine place to bet on NFL playoffs.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California

When New York Giants QB Daniel Jones had a contact lens pop out early in the second quarter, his team already trailed the Philadelphia Eagles by 14 (on January 21st, 2023). Midway through the fourth quarter, he decided to remove both lenses.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).



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