Haven't just spilled my thoughts on the blog for a while... just a lot of recaps and such.
So, here's a little substance and some randoms as we get set for the most important night of the playoffs for all three of our local participants so far (and yes, they're only gonna get bigger).
- I got off Swan Valley's bus at the rink about 12:15 AM after the Game 3 loss in OCN on Monday. Thought to myself, "not bad, I'll be back by 2:00." Then realized once I got to the open highway just how much it did snow, and everywhere. Thankfully it wasn't icy, just snow stuck on the road and it was blowing, and still coming down. I had a 4x4 truck and chewed through it pretty good. Watching snow come down, already with heavy eyes, got a little hypnotizing. So, for the second time this year... a little cat nap at the Canora ESSO! Set the alarm on my phone for 2:00, and good thing... I was out like a light! Got to the station a little after 2:30, and I think my head hit the pillow a little after 4:00... 23 hours after the first alarm went off. But if I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't do it! Just a little "Day In The Life Of Junior Hockey Radio - Playoff Edition" for ya!
- Brendan Pawliw sure doesn't sound like a rookie Play by Play guy. My usual colour guy for this season has been doing Play by Play for the Mils/Terriers games in Yorkton on nights where I'm in OCN with the Stampeders, and doin' great. As expected, there were complainers when I announced on the blog that we wouldn't have every Yorkton/Melville game from start to finish... but haven't had any comments like that since it started. And good... if you're going to complain about the coverage we're providing of two simultaneous local series', then you were just spoiled too much as a kid. No offense. But seriously, half-hour Pre Game Shows, with audio from both series', and two play by play guys in different provinces going back and forth. We're doing the best we can!
- Speaking of that, our original broadcast schedule has us in OCN for the Stampeders/Blizzard Game 5 this Friday night. However, with the Stamps winning the first two games, they'll be at the very least tied 2-2 heading into that game, and that would guarantee either a Game 6 in that series, or that they'll be moving on to the next round. So, if Melville wins tonight's Game 4 at home against Yorkton... we'll do Game 5 in Yorkton, because the series would be 3-1, and have the POTENTIAL of being a series clincher, and the last game for one of our local teams (in that case Yorkton). That series had 6 or 7 written all over it going in, and I'm still expecting that to be the case... but we're just covering our bases. And again, if these series both go the distance, Games 6 and 7 are staggered, and we would do them all.
- My wife asked me what nights I have games this week after Wednesday. I said "Friday, and that could be it for a week. Or, it could be Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday." Funny, but true! She's got parent-teacher interviews next Wednesday-Thursday night, so my schedule should work out that this round goes no longer than Tuesday, and the next one should start no sooner than Friday. So daddy-duty those two nights.
- I wonder if Anonymous will attend parent teacher interview night. There are a lot of Anonymous's, but I mean the one who was ripping me in my Mils/Terriers preview and had the courage to (anonymously) stoop to the level of commenting on my wife teaching in Melville. It was from a Melville fan who felt I'm OBVIOUSLY favouring the Terriers, and my wife shouldn't teach there and I shouldn't MC their banquet. Oh how I love this time of year! The whack jobs all come out of the woodwork.
- It will suck having one of the Terriers/Millionaires lose first round... but I am looking forward to next weekend in the sense that I CAN be more of a homer for whoever comes out of it. It IS a challenge doing both teams, and having the same level of excitement for both in an emotional series. I definitely have to pull it back a notch for BOTH. (Former Terrier D Austin Bourhis texted during the OT Intermission Saturday night that he was looking forward to the call of the winner. Had to explain that there won't be any WOOHOO's or BOOYAH's in a Yorkton/Melville game regardless who scores!). And trust me, I enjoy covering both teams, and dealing with both teams and coaching staffs, perfectly equal. They're both great to me when it comes to traveling with them, and they've both treated me to outstanding playoff runs and SJHL Finals appearances. Yes, it'd be nice to call a league championship! There's another chance at it this year... but the Weyburn Red Wings are up 3-0 on Estevan and looking dangerous, and the mighty north is lookin' mighty mighty this year.
- Do Manitobans even read this blog??? My SiteMeter says a lot do, but I can't remember the last comment I got that came from that side of the border. There are several comments in my playoff posts, but ALL of them are Yorkton/Melville related.
- I love Twitter. I'm tweeting more than some people who I used to think annoyed me by how much they tweeted. But, I think my followers have roughly doubled since this season started. I also quite enjoy the 'hashtags' used by Terrier and Millionaire players regarding their opponents. I DO think junior hockey players on Twitter is an accident waiting to happen, and that accident has happened in some cases already (Nipawin vs Estevan players), (certain pictures surfacing), (SJHL PROBLEMS). @SJHLproblems is funny usually, but terrible promotion of the league, especially when it's from players who I assume would like to get a scholarship and further their careers after playing in the league. By and large, players keep it clean and respectful, and they're entertaining to follow.
- If you haven't listened to my Clarke Breitkreuz interview... just scroll down to the last post. He's got some great stuff to say, about trash-talking German-style, and just how close he was to joining the Humboldt Broncos at Christmas. He said the long-term benefits of getting his pro career started, out-weighed the possible short-term glory of a good chance at an SJHL Championship and an RBC Cup experience, but it was a really tough call to make.
- Fan support has been great in these playoffs... so please keep coming to the rink! And, no one's complained about us doing home games, which is also welcomed news (or no news). 1464 fans during a broadcast in Melville is living proof. 1005 fans in Swan for Game 2 is although worth tipping my cap to. That's roughly 1 in every 4 people in that community inside the rink. That's terrific, and they've filled fan busses for Games 1 and 3 in OCN too. Bus driver Jim was the most upbeat of anyone after the Game 3 loss. "Well it's not so bad, that'll mean two more full busses coming up here on Friday!" Jimbo owns the bus line if you couldn't tell by now.
- The Stampeders are in a good spot still. If they can take care of their home ice, they give themselves a chance to win in 6. The Blizzard are such a scrappy bunch though, and they're physical, and seemed to wear the Stamps down a little towards the end of Game 3. Both teams would like more goals, but the Stampeders need some help from the supporting cast. 6 of their 7 goals in the series have come from their top line.
- Yorkton is forced to win at least once in Melville to have a chance in their series. They won't panic though, they never do. They came back from 3-0 down in Game 2 like it was no big deal, and seem like they're never out of a game. The Millionaires then erased a 2 goal deficit late in Game 3. I've only seen one game in the series. The comments suggest goaltending has been a little inconsistent both ways. It will be interesting to see what direction the coaches go next. I wouldn't be shocked to see the status-quo. But there are a total of FIVE goalies on these two rosters who all proved themselves capable in the regular season.
- A lot of comments have been asking if I know the status of injured players. Truthful answer: Almost always, NO. And, if I did, would I post them here? NO. We do know Tyson Newell won't play in the series, but Coach Fiesel did say if they can get through the first round, there's hope for him, even as early as next round.
- Melville got Trudeau back on Monday, but Mireau sat. Does the top line finally reunite in Game 3? Will Bob Pond make his series debut on the backend and help shore things up? TJ Reeve up front? Will Tayler Thompson, who led the Terriers in scoring against Melville in the regular season, get into the series at all? All good questions, but answers I usually don't know until I get to the rink and see the lineup sheets.
Our Pre Game Show starts at 7:00 tonight from Melville... Play by Play at 7:30. SEE YOU THERE!