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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Home opener announced

The Birds just announced that the home opener will be Saturday, September 20, against the Everett Silvertips.  Now we all have something to put on our calendars and look forward to.

According to my calculations, that is in 102 days.
It also comes exactly 175 days after the TBirds won game 5 over Everett in their first ever playoff series.

I was going to come up with a big analysis of how huge this game will be, but even I can't be that sarcastic right now.


Kodi said...

Fabbro Interview

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about the new playoff format in the WHL? (seems to mirror the NHL if I'm understanding it).

Thunnex said...

I think they clearly made the change for travel purposes. This ensures that at least one series stays within the division.

I do think it opens up the remote possibility that the 3rd seeded team from a division has a poor record and makes it over a team that misses the second wildcard from the other division but I think that would be a pretty rare occurrence.

mjs1980 said...

Because they already took the top 8 teams in the conference, it won't really change who qualifies just who they could play in the first two rounds.

The only way the situation that you bring up could happen would be if the 3rd place team in the East or Central Division had a worse point total than the 6th place team in the opposite division. If that happens, there would be bigger things to fix than the playoff format.

I've seen some people complaining about it, comparing it to the "bad" matchups it may lead to like in the NHL this year. I don't know about everyone else but, even though my team got knocked out early, this has been a very exciting NHL playoff year with great matchups.

Kodi said...

My problem is this. I'm tired of the unbalanced schedule and I'm tired of watching the same teams every night.

PDX x 12
EVT x 10
TRI x 10
SPO x 10

It has nothing to do with one or more teams being better then us but about wanting to have a chance to see a bit more variety. That being said even though Kelowna stomped us I was happier watching them then having to see PDX yet again for at least 4 more games. I think if we went for a little more balance of a schedule like a home/away of each team in the other conference and reduced a few of the divisional games then the new playoff format would be easier to deal with at least for me.

Anonymous said...

The division heavy format of the regular season is in place for the same reason as this playoff format was put in place. It is all about reducing travel and cutting expenses (hotels, meals). It also extracts the school age players from school less often.

mjs1980 said...

That division schedule only exists for US teams. If you look at the schedules for the other divisions, you'll see they don't play each other as often and the Canadian teams get home and away with 3+ teams of the other conference.

I'm sure if you ask the GMs of the US division teams, they'd probably tell you that intra-division matchups will always draw better.

What is silly, if we are talking imbalance, is that the breakdown of intra-division games isn't even. Seattle and Spokane only pay 8 times because of the extra games Spokane plays with Kootenay. Same for the E Washington teams and Everett. Everett plays Vancouver more often than the rest of the US division does.

If they really wanted to make a balanced schedule it wouldn't be hard:
10 x 4 div opponents = 40 games
4 x 5 conf opponents = 20 games
1 x 12 eastern conference = 12 games

It wouldn't solve seeing Everett or Portland 10x a season but at least you would know everyone in the conference was playing the same schedule.

Anonymous said...

In addition to cutting down on travel and the costs associated with it, it is also easier to sell a Seattle-Portland or Seattle-Everett game then a Seattle-Kamloops game or a Seattle-Kelowna game. Seriously, I took a co-worker to a game against Kelowna and he had no idea where the team was from. Didn't understand why a team in Kent would be playing teams from Canada. Your average "non-traditional" fan is more apt to go to a game against Portland then one against Prince George...unless you give them cheap tickets and cheap beer!!!! This may be oversimplifying it but in the U.S. Division the fans come for the atmosphere while in Canada they go for the hockey.

Unknown said...

There is no point in having divisions if you are going to play all the teams in your conference the same number of times. I like the unbalanced schedule, you should play your conference a lot more than the other conferences, in my opinion. I would like to see the number of games played among each opponent be balanced in the division.

In addition to cutting down on cost, it is also better for the players to minimize the travel, my guess is traveling everywhere by bus can take a toll, even on kids that age over the course of the season.

I don't really like the new playoff format. Playoffs can be used to build new rivalries, which I think is good for the league. Using the new format, this years first round would have been in the west: Kelowna (118)-TriCity(68), Portland (113)-Spokane (86), Victoria (100)-Vancouver (75), and Seattle (88)-Everett (88). And in the east: Edmonton (103)-Prince Albert (75), Regina (85)-Kootney (83), Calgary (103)-Medicine Hat (92), Swift Current (85)-Brandon (77). Really, the 5th best team in the East deserves to have home ice advantage and play the 7th best team? Doesn't seem like you are rewarding the best teams for their season-long accomplishments.

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