The new Smoke Eater coach, interim or not, has to hope that a big change, all on its own, energizes the players.
It has seemed at times that the Smokies could play with any other team they face. Those times, however, have been too few and far between – especially on home ice.
It is often said by coaching staffs that road trips, in the beginning of a team’s journey, are often a blessing. It may be a very good thing, then, that after tonight the Smokies are on the road until the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the BCHL’s highest-scoring team will be at Cominco Arena tonight and the hosts need to be desperate from minute one. Another home defeat is exactly the wrong way to prepare for a road trip – despite the fact the results on the road have been a bit better.
It’s difficult to revamp a roster mid-season, especially difficult to attract top-end producers to a losing team, but at least a partial rebuild is likely needed, and quickly. How those in charge go about that, or even whether it is possible to create the sharp turnaround in fortunes the team needs to even contemplate post-season play, I do not know.
I know they will try, but I am fairly sure almost everybody involved has been trying pretty hard all along. All fans can do is wait and see, seeing being the most important word here. The Smokies are our team and need our support maybe more than ever right now. There is small reason to expect a good result from tonight’s game, but there is every reason to head down to the rink and see what happens.
• Meanwhile, just a little east of here. the local junior B team seems headed for blue skies – if they can take a big step tonight. The Beaver Valley Nitehawks face the Nelson Leafs for the fourth time (one of those exhibition) this season sporting an 0-3 record against their long time rivals.
The Nitehawks haven’t lost to anyone else this year and experienced an upgrade in talent recently. This is a touchstone contest for their chances and they won’t face Nelson again for six weeks.
The Nitehawks also spend the rest of October’s schedule in their home barn and would like to feel in control of their standings destiny, which a win tonight would allow.
• For the next couple of weeks, the KIJHL and BCHL local schedules are not in conflict – a nice change for local fans who support both levels. It should be something that is the norm, given computerization of schedule making, because it should benefit the bottom lines of both the Nitehawks and Smokies, who share more than a few fans.
Nothing that would make things easier for the Smoke Eaters, though, is given much consideration by their league.