GDB 65.0: NO SPOILERS!
(Photo Credit: Gabriel Thaine)
People that knowingly post spoilers to things – suck. I’m not talking about a little slip up during conversation – no no – what I’m addressing is far more sinister. I’m talking about the neanderthal mouth breathers that immediately run to the nearest computer to start commenting on forums, Reddit, and Youtube video comments sections the second they find out about a major plot point or twist.
This has actually become a pretty big issue on the internet. People get reeeeeealy upset when someone spoils something for them and it happens all the time. Things got so extreme prior to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that a computer programer coded a web browser plugin that automatically blocked any text about Star Wars at all. The other popular spoiler heavy community is Game of Thrones. With thousands of people having already read the books, and millions more who haven’t… spoilers were, and remain, an inevitability.
They may not be mathematically eliminated, but the Blades will play the role of the spoiler tonight in Saskatoon. It’s up to the Hurricanes to exercise self restraint and to avoid letting it happen.
“Don’t spoil me bro!!”
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A couple of hundred kilometres and two days now separate the Hurricanes from what was a great effort Wednesday night in Moose Jaw. Lethbridge must now turn to face the Saskatoon Blades – a team in transition – but not one without bite. Prior to winning Wednesday, the Hurricanes hadn’t registered back to back wins since beating the Blades and Americans a few weeks ago at the Enmax Centre. Tonight Lethbridge has a chance to extend their modest winning streak to three games, and in doing so, fend off the Red Deer Rebels.
This game (and all that come after it) has significant playoff implications, particularly within the Central Division. Red Deer and Lethbridge have both played 64 games and the Hurricanes currently hold a 5 point lead on their Northern rivals. The Hurricanes do have the edge in that they hold the tiebreaker were it to come into play and it seems, at least for now, that Lethbridge has the inside track.
That said, the Canes and Rebels play a home and home series next weekend and it’s shaping up to be the deciding factor. If the Canes can eke out a win tonight, it will ensure they have some “buffer” were they to struggle in the home and home with Red Deer. The point is that while the Blades are a long shot, there is still much on the line for Lethbridge.
Will the Hurricanes pull it out or will the Blades spoil their plans?
While they still have an outside shot (albeit a slim one), Saskatoon is likely not going to make the postseason in 2016. They are on the outside looking in and currently trail the Oil Kings by 9 points for the final Wild Card position. They DO have a game in hand but it very likely won’t be enough. With only 9 games remaining, the Blades would need to win almost all of them and hope for Edmonton to stumble for an outside chance. It’s possible… but barely.
From an outsider’s perspective, I’m not really sure if this will be considered a disappointing season for the Blades. It’s been a long haul for the fans of that organization. Since they went ‘all in’ on the Memorial Cup (and failed to win), they are in the middle of a rebuilding process. Yesterday Richard Gibson wrote an article we published here called “The Final Countdown”. In it, Dick talked about the Blades, their contrast with Red Deer, and their approach to the Memorial Cup three years ago.
“Just a side note, in 2013 the Saskatoon Blades were the host team for the Memorial Cup. They were swept by Medicine Hat in the first round of the WHL playoffs and thus had to wait on the sidelines for over a month. The Blades went 1-2 in the round robin, then lost 6-1 to London in the tiebreaker. Red Deer will be facing a lot of pressure in hoping to avoid a quick exit from the Eastern Conference playoffs.”
While it is a great honor and a privilege, hosting the Memorial Cup is also a burden. It might not have been the season they had hoped for, but from what I saw a few weeks ago in Lethbridge, I believe Saskatoon is headed in the right direction.
They lost a lopsided game to the Hurricanes, but truthfully, the score wasn’t indicative of the play. Saskatoon was the better team for significant stretches in the first half of that game. They were moving very fast, showcasing their skill, and generally impressed across the board. They were exposed by a determined Hurricanes team in the 3rd period, but up to that point, I thought the Blades showed well.
From all of us here in Lethbridge – hang in there Saskatoon fans – we know your pain. Even the worst storms pass eventually… some are just longer than others.
- Connor Gay and Cameron Hebig stir the drink in Saskatoon. They are on the only two players with over 60 (or 50) points.
- Saskatoon is coming off a whipping at the hands of the Wheat Kings. Final score, 12-2.
- Goaltenders Hamm and Smith have split time over the last few games. I’m not sure who will get the call tonight.
After tonight the Canes only have 7 games remaining! It’s wild. Seems like just yesterday the season started, but alas, all good things come to an end. With all due respect to the Blades, this game is an opportunity for Lethbridge. While the Canes have a tough final few games from a home/away perspective, they also play their fair share of non-playoff teams.
Saskatoon is chief among them and if Lethbridge is serious about winning the division, winning tonight cannot be viewed as a luxury. The Blades, though flawed, are more than capable of beating the Hurricanes on any given night. They are coming off a thrashing at the hands of the Wheaties and I anticipate they will want to play the role of spoiler with an aggressive fervor..
The Canes played a near perfect road game on Wednesday and they will have success tonight if they can repeat it. Lethbridge received standout performances by the two overagers Millette and Atwal against Moose Jaw and I anticipate they will once again.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Canes have gotten younger. Now that his AAA team has been eliminated from the playoffs, 2015 1st round selection Calen Addison will be joining the team for the remainder of the season. It was also announced that Josh Tarzwell could also join the “big team” in the near future. With another blue-liner in the fold, we may see Kisio look to try and get some vets a little rest. Word has it a few of them are pretty banged up and Addison gives him options. Calen isn’t big, but he’s shown he can play in this league and I would have no qualms about injecting him directly into the lineup.
There’s more. Don’t look now, but tonight could mark the long awaited return of skilled centre Giorgio Estephan. Giorgio went hard into the endboards in Kelowna over a month ago and has been sidelined with an ankle injury ever since. Anholt pegged his return as March 8th at the latest and he was already a game-time decision Wednesday. Nothing is certain, but I won’t be shocked if we hear number 9 is back on the ice with the team either tonight or tomorrow in Prince Albert.
IF he does return tonight, it will be interesting to see what it does to the lines. What does it mean for Thunder Chief? What does the potential call-up of Tarzwell mean for Thunder-Chief? Will Burke remain on the top line once Wong shifts back to the wing and Estephan returns to the middle?
I don’t have answers to any of those questions, but it’s something I will be watching closely. Regardless, adding Giorgio back to the lineup can only be a good thing for the team. Here’s hoping it’s tonight.
- I’m not sure this is what they will do, but I would ride the hot hand and go with Skinner again in goal. Now is the perfect time to allow one of your netminders to get hot by giving him the starts he needs. Skinner has been the better of the two of late and personally, I would give him tonight’s game and let him have the night off tomorrow.
Highlite for Spoilers…
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Hurricanes will extend their winning streak to three with a 5-3 victory over Saskatoon.
OBVIOUS GDP: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalkers father.
NOT SO OBVIOUS GDP: Season 6 of GOT will open with Ned Stark relaxing by a beach in Maui. J.S. will show up and they will go surfing together whilst sipping Mai-Tai’s. You can trust me… I’m a book reader.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s game day articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
Remember to tell him Canes Domain sent you!