While Smokie watchers are convinced the team is on the right track, the results are still lacking where it will come to count most – on home ice.
A quick look at the early season schedule indicated that Trail should have, and would need, a quick start to the year. After the two-game mini-event in Chilliwack, Trail was scheduled to play ten of their next 14 games at Cominco Arena, which should be a boon for a contending team.
So far, Trail is 1-4 at home in the early part of that, “favourable,” portion of the schedule and has been outscored 24-7 in those five games. Only two slightly improbable road wins in the middle of all that have them anywhere near a contending position – Trail is 3-1-1 away from what are supposed to be, “friendly confines.”
If, however, the Smoke Eaters do not very quickly find the path to success at home, that position will worsen rapidly. Starting tonight, Trail has five of seven matches in their home barn. Any continuation of the current trend will spell disaster for playoff hopes, club finances and coaching tenures.
Trailites, in terms of supporting local sporting activity, have become a lazy and semi-interested lot. The only way to entice them into the downtown (especially right now) and the arena is to put wins there on the board.
There can be no better time than tonight. Alberni Valley, which has given the Smokies fits the past few years whether they had good teams or bad, is off to a terrible start. The Bulldogs are one of only three BCHL clubs to have scored fewer goals than Trail and are the only team to have surrendered more goals than the Smokies.
Not that it will be easy, but a decent effort from Trail should bring success. Then the Centennials, who shellacked the Smokies in their last visit, offer up an opportunity for revenge. Not that Trail absolutely, positively, will fail the season without sweeping this weekend, but dominance on home ground cannot come to early for a team which, after four late October road games in a row, has seven of 10 November games in Cominco Arena.
It is likely that unless the Smoke Eaters quickly find a successful recipe for home games their playoff prospects will be cooked by January.
• I guess it is sort-of comforting to know when something is all your fault, because you are idle or stupid or some such.
It was explained to us by a city engineering tech last week that our frustrations with the Victoria St. morass were the result of us not doing our own research (silly us, we thought that’s what engineering folks were for) or not planning properly or just being sticks in the mud.
As to the poor research part, it seems, since the project was already two weeks behind schedule six weeks in because of surprises on the ground, we may have caught that from the project planners.
As to our own planning, well I doubt workers at Teck and other north end jobs could realistically have had their hours changed so that fateful Thursday they could have found an extra two hours so as to get things done at downtown banks and businesses before they closed.
Then we are told the right hand lane which allowed dozens to hundreds of drivers right turn access from Cedar Avenue to Victoria St. every day for decades was as imaginary as the big right-turn arrow still painted on the road, and for our delusions we are to be punished by waiting in a single lane behind left-turning vehicles forever after.
I bet you are much less frustrated now, knowing whom to blame for the unfolding disaster.