With the P.G. Spruce Kings, Cariboo Cougars Major Midget team and UNBC basketball teams out-of-town, the sports spotlight in Prince George this weekend is largely focused on the WHL Cougars.

The Kamloops-Prince George rivalry has a chance to intensify.

The Blazers and Cougars meet Saturday and Sunday at CN Centre and although the doubleheader won’t determine a knock-out punch, the two games could have an impact on who finishes where in the standings.

The Cougars are currently sitting in a position that the Blazers want to be, that is a playoff spot, but the difference in points is slim.

Prince George has moved ahead of Kamloops because they are playing better of late despite dropping Wednesday’s 6-2 decision to the CHL top-ranked Prince Albert Raiders.

The Cougars are 4-2 in the month of January while the Blazers are just 1-6, including regulation time losses in each of their last five games.

The race for the post-season isn’t just between these two teams.

With two months of the regular-season remaining, Prince George, Kamloops and the Kelowna Rockets appear to be in a four-team race for two berths, while the Seattle Thunderbirds are in the mix for one spot.

Third place in the B.C. Division qualifies a team and Kelowna holds the edge by three points over P.G. and five over last place Kamloops.

The Rockets have dropped their last six games, including two last weekend at CN Centre.

With Tri-City holding a comfortable double digit margin for the first wild-card, the second and final spot is up for grabs and can change in one night.

The Cougars are 8th overall in the Western Conference standings, but only a point ahead of Seattle and two up on Kamloops.

(By the way, finishing third in the B.C. Division will likely get that team a first-round match-up against Victoria, which is much more desirable than the second wild-card team that would likely face Everett, the class of
the Western Conference).

Of the Cougars 26 remaining games, six of them, or 21 % are against the Blazers.

Kamloops is 3-0 this season against P.G. with the latest victory, a 2-1 decision on Dec. 30th in Kamloops, which closed out the 2018 portion of the schedule.

For a further look at the standings click here.

The Blazers, who have 27 games remaining, including a home date tonight against Prince Albert, have scored 23 more goals than the Cougars (120-97) but have given up six more (142-136).

The Thunderbirds have 28 games left but have the toughest schedule remaining.

25 of those games are against teams with winning records, including 11 against Portland and Everett.

Seattle only has two left against Kamloops, one vs. Kelowna and none against Prince George.

One advantage for the Blazers is they have the most home games remaining (18) compared to just nine on the road.

The Cougars have 14 home and 12 road games left while the Thunderbirds have 16 home and 12 away remaining.

Sure, Kamloops and Prince George would love to be higher in the standings and not sweating to try to get in, but being in a race that counts adds to the intensity of the rivalry.

Motivational speeches should not be needed when the Blazers and Cougars face off.

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This is Week 16 of ‘Hartley’s Cat Scan.’

The podcast, introduced in September, predominately features the Prince George Cougars.

My guests this week are from the Cougars Business Staff: Mark Goodwin – Director, Ticket Sales and
Gary Samis – Corporate Sales Manager.

You can also find this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, and TuneIn.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

After a beef with a college student, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has vowed to use Twitter
more responsibly in the future. The last time someone was that irresponsible on social media, they ended up getting sent for four years to the White House.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Former NFL QB Tim Tebow is engaged. So guess he’s finally been completing his passes.

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

LA Chargers QB Phillip Rivers and his wife, Tiffany, are expecting their ninth child. Apparently, Phillip has decided since there are no Chargers fans in L.A., he is going to manufacture them.

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg

 

Freddie Kitchens has been named the new Cleveland Browns Head Coach. So, do we call his Assistants ‘Kitchen’s Cabinet’?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson has put his Paradise Valley, Ariz., mansion on the auction block. No, not all the doors are sliders, but it does include:
—25,000-square-foot main home
—2,000-square-foot guest house
—11 1/2 bathrooms—7 bedrooms—5 acres of land
In other words, a Big Unit.

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

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

After Bears PK Cody Parker accepted no excuses for his sixth doink of the season which ended Chicago’s playoffs, teammates called him a “standup guy.” Or maybe an upright guy?

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his weekly podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.