The second round of play in the BCHL post season will not start for quite a while, likely not until next Friday (13th) even though there is only one series Chilliwack/Surrey, still in much doubt.
It wasn’t comfortable, and the Spruce Kings have every right to feel agrieved that they did not go back to Prince George with at worst a split of the opening two games in Trail. But, the Smoke Eaters got the job done in only six and half minutes longer than the minimum amount of time required.
I have not heard of any injuries, and what there are the Smokies have 10 days to get under control, so no excuses on that front when they hit the ice of Cominco Arena to begin against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Trail allowed only three goals in the four games, which is a very positive result. Prince George, it’s true, had the weakest offense all season in the entire league, but the team had a lot of puck possession in the first two contests, so holding them to less than a goal a game for the series is an accomplishment by the Smoke Eaters – and something to strongly build upon going forward
• No need to go without hockey in the Smoke Eater interim, though.
Beaver Valley and Nelson blew through their first round KIJHL matchups, and will begin second round (Division Championship) play on Monday in the valley. The Nitehawks and Leafs particpated in nailbiters all season long, so there is no reason to expect anything but barn-burners between the two during the playoff round.
• The Brier is on, but it is not the Brier my generation knew and pined and strove to attend.
The players are, mostly, really good. But, that was always true.
The physical surroundings have changed so drastically that, along with the equipment and the deeper knowledge of the physics involved, there probably should never again be a miss in play.
The top teams, in particular, play basically on the same sheet of ice, with the same matched and pampered rocks, all year long. They can, regardless of the actual name of the venue involved, put their brooms in the same place and throw the same weight for every different shot they play, every day.
Between that, and, despite being fitter, playing about half as many ends a day as was the case previously, there should be very high percentages accrued by at least the top eight lineups.
Something about the lineups, though, bothers me. It used to be that teams represented their home areas – cities, zones, provinces. Not really so, anymore.
The PEI team, for instance, has a lead from PEI. Everyone else on the team is from the National Capitol Area (Greater Ottawa) where they live and work. The Yukon and Territories teams both have Ontarians in the mix, as well. The PEI team is listed in the Canadian Team Rankings System (CTRS) which ranks teams across the country based on their success at winning money (and provides the two provincial losers with the most points a shot at the Brier Wild Card Spot). as an Ontario team. Must make PEI fans so proud.
Maybe they should, sadly, change the iconic purple heart to a dollar sign. Or a Tim Hortons roll up the rim cup.