The WHL will play less, while the BCHL adds more…
… and the odds are stacked against the Canucks (200-to-1).
Here’s five hockey questions with my answers to follow.
Q: Can we read anything into the Prince George Cougars first five games?
A: Not really, other than with a young team in transition it will be a season of ups and downs.
The Cougars started 0-3 and were outscored 13-4.
Yes, many fans had started sounding the alarm bells, but some of those concerns have been tempered by their performance in the last two games.
They won both on the road by a combined 9-2 score.
The Cougars are probably somewhere in between how they performed in the first three compared to their last two outings.
Prince George did not have Detroit Red Wings 2016 first-round pick Dennis Cholowski for the season-opening doubleheader against Spokane.
His impact on the back end was strongly felt during the three-game road trip.
The Cougars are home for their next five (two vs. Kelowna, one against Calgary, and two vs. Kamloops).
Earning six points on the home-stand is a reasonable expectation which would get them back to the 500-mark after 10 games, a record they could hover around all season.
— PG Cougars (@PGCougars) September 24, 2017
Q: Are the Kamloops Blazers and their starting goalie Dylan Ferguson really as bad as their record indicates?
A: No, but all indications have them a prime candidate for being one of the two WHL Western Conference teams that will miss the playoffs.
The Blazers are 0-6, but Kamloops started the same way two years ago and finished 38-25-5-4.
Back then, the Blazers had Connor Ingram in net and a good supporting cast.
This season, Kamloops is going with Ferguson in goal and a much more inexperienced team around him.
Ferguson has quickly found there’s a lot less pressure as a back-up.
His numbers through five games are awful (6.54 goals-against-average [GAA] and an 0.828 save percentage [SV%]).
Last season in 31 games, he had a 2.74 GAA and a 0.928 SV%, good enough to get him selected in the seventh round of the NHL Draft.
Ferguson will get much better and the Blazers will get competitive (they haven’t had a lead yet), but the Cougars aren’t complaining they get to play Kamloops 10 times.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) October 5, 2017
Q: Did the WHL make the right call in going from 72 games (which has been the case since 1975-76 season) to 68 games starting in 2018-19?
A: They sure did!
It may not seem that significant, but even a reduction of four total games should mean less travel, more practice and academic study time and perhaps less cost for a season ticket.
How many times have fans suggested in many sports that the regular season is too long?
It took a while, but the WHL has taken a step in the right direction, and starting next year will play the same amount of games as the OHL and QMJHL.
The WHL Board of Governors has adopted a 68-game schedule for the 2018-19 Regular Season.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) October 5, 2017
Q: Can the BCHL ever decide on a playoff format that works?
A: Apparently not! The league continues to search for an answer and is making yet another change; this time becoming a party where practically everybody gets an invite.
Financial reasons obviously come into play to the decision announced this week, but now, 16 of the 17 teams will qualify starting in 2017-18.
This begs the question, what is the real purpose of playing the 58 regular season games?
Now more than ever fans might as well wait until March when the real competitive season starts.
Until that time, it’s strictly tune-up games with not much meaning.
For details on the change click here.
— BC Hockey League (@bchllive) October 4, 2017
Q: Which of the seven franchises has the best chance to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens?
A: There really is only six choices since it won’t be Vancouver.
In fact, the Canucks are a 200-to-1 long-shot, which is the same as four other teams at the bottom of the list, including the ever dangerous expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Edmonton is the logical choice, but since Montreal has the best goalie, and Carey Price was in fine form with 43 saves in the season opening 3-2 shootout victory in Buffalo Thursday night, I will go with the Habs.
CURRENT CANADIAN ODDS:
- Edmonton Oilers 9-1
- Toronto Maple Leafs 14-1
- Montreal Canadiens 16-1
- Ottawa Senators 30-1
- Calgary Flames 30-1
- Winnipeg Jets 50-1
- Vancouver Canucks 200-1
— NHL (@NHL) October 6, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving !!!
Let’s hope the turkeys this weekend stay on the plate… and not on the playing surface.
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
San Diego has started building a border wall. Not to keep out immigrants, but to keep the LA Chargers from coming back.
*Conan O’Brien of TBS
Major League Baseball set a single season record for home runs. The league celebrated by giving all the players juice (boxes).
*Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/
Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has been fired after a federal investigation for fraud. And, if he’s convicted of any crimes, he could be sentenced to ten years of coaching the New York Knicks.
*Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon
Tampa Bay kicker Nick Folk took full blame for missing three field goals in the 19-14 loss to New England. It would have been easy for him to blame the holder and asked for Colin Kaepernick instead. Kaepernick would obviously be more comfortable in the kneeling position as a holder.
*Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver
Former Denver coach Red Miller passed away at age 89. Broncos fans of a certain age are crushed.
*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York
RIP Monty Hall. His funeral will be behind door number one; or two; or three.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
At a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader tryout, Holly Marie Powell lost her halter top during a morning solo dance. In the afternoon, she was the best performer – bra none.
*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller