Acrostic Preview: Tips and the WHL Playoffs

You might be anticipating a check-in from these parts with a series prediction.

 

Sorry folks, not my job.

 

Let’s leave that to the pundits. Because for 72 games plus whatever amount is gifted to my eyes in the postseason, the two hours plus are like a blank canvas, and the responsibility to articulate is like unfolding a story, or painting a word picture.

 

It’s the most magical time of year. So please be open to expect anything, and expect the unexpected.

 

Here we go: round 5 between the Silvertips and Winterhawks, between two U.S. Division rivals. Two coaches will go at it with notable NHL experience (Kevin Constantine and Jamie Kompon). Two cities with boisterous and vigorous fanbases will elevate the audio backdrop.

 

So, we bid you a hearty welcome to the …

 

Perspiration: nobody said this time of year would be easy.

 

“Whatever luck I had, I made. I was never a natural athlete, but I paid my dues in sweat and concentration and took the time necessary to learn karate and become world champion.” (Chuck Norris)

 

Lay-it-on-the-line mentality: I wish we had blocked shots officially quantified beneath the NHL level. There will be so many bodies in the way.   

 

Adversity: You may face a series deficit, a 5-0 deficit, a player deficit. We welcome you to the postseason, where nothing is impossible to overcome. On seven occasions: the Silvertips rallied from a third period deficit to force overtime. They had 8 overtime wins.

 

Yelling: Downtown Everett, and the Rose Quarter all add to the noise factor with two of the more successful teams in the WHL at the box office.

 

Obstacles: Newton’s third law communicates for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We’ll see plenty of it, no matter how many postseason games. The Tips present plenty of them: their 2.3 goals allowed per game are 2nd fewest in the CHL.

 

Forecasts: Everyone wants to get the winner right, in how many games, with the series clincher. But the beauty of the playoffs lies in the truth that you need to expect the unexpected. Embrace the clean slate.  

 

Freeways: Up and down Interstate-5 we go for the next several days: just 3.5 hours separate the two playoff combatants. It could be worse.

 

Success: It feels even sweeter at such a wonderful time of year. It’s the reason why we enjoy this grand scope of theater on an icy stage. There are many wondering that in such a magical season,”could we see a repeat of 2003-04?”

 

Hope you enjoyed the wonderful world of acrostics. I’m sure you figured it out.

 

Al Kinisky and I join you 30 minutes before puck drop, every playoff game, on Fox Sports 1380.

 

 

Home Ice: Who Wants Some?

CEREMONIAL PUCK DROP: Go watch (#Twitterless) Carson Stadnyk’s conversation with Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) from last night’s downtown Seattle Q13 Fox studios. “Stads” isn’t camera shy, and Aaron is a SportsCenter worthy anchor (and even better guy) who always unfolds a great conversation (we’re lucky he’s here in the Pacific Northwest).

The Everett Silvertips earned a playoff berth for the 13th time in 13 seasons, continuing a remarkable run of overall consistency that compares to only three other teams entering this season: Kootenay, Medicine Hat, and Tri-City (Kootenay’s already eliminated, while Medicine Hat and Tri-City are on the outside, requiring a mega boost just to get in again).

So, to put it mildly, the Tips model of success has been everlasting and nearly unparalleled since 2003-04 – if you put it into context of making the postseason. Snohomish County has been guaranteed real life playoff intensity every year, and it’ll continue this year in downtown Everett.

Last month: the Tips had to battle through a majority of the schedule without captain Dawson Leedahl, and a battered lineup forced to play one or two players short. The end result:

  • OVERALL: 7-4-2
  • HOME: 5-1-2
  • THIRD PERIODS: 15 goals (remember the late game-winners or game-tying goals to extract important points)
Tri-City Americans at Everett Silvertips

EVERETT, WASHINGTON – MARCH 05: (Photo by Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips)

They’re the first of two in the U.S. Division to punch the postseason ticket. However, it’s not the be-all, end-all. They’re on the cusp of home ice advantage in the opening round, and they still have a mathematic shot at the U.S. Division title.

As the Silvertips stand four points out of the top spot, and nine up on Portland, here’s how everyone stacks in the final days of the season:

GAMES REMAINING (U.S. Division):

  1. Seattle* (6) – (vs EVT, at POR, vs SPO, at TC, vs POR, at POR)
  1. Silvertips* (7) – (vs. POR, at SEA, at TC, at POR, vs. SPO, vs VIC, at VIC) 
  1. Portland (7) – (at EVT, at VAN, vs SEA, vs EVT, vs SPO, at SEA, vs SEA)
  1. Spokane (7) – (vs KAM, vs TC, vs KEL, at SEA, at EVT, at POR, at TC)
  1. Tri-City (6) – (vs KAM, at SPO, vs EVT, vs KEL, vs SEA, vs SPO)

* Have already clinched a playoff berth

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY:

– Silvertips vs. Portland: rematch of last year. The travel requires only 3.5 hours of a commute between both cities.

– Seattle vs. Kamloops: Seattle’s won the last five meetings, with the last non-shootout win for the Blazers coming Jan. 28, 2015. Gregg Drinnan has more with potential building issues facing the Blazers in the opening round.  CLICK HERE

– Victoria vs. Spokane: Since the Royals entered the league, Spokane has won 13 of 20. But this season, where the Royals hold the top spot in the WHL, they’ve ripped three wins in four games. The travel here would present an interesting dynamic: Victoria, by road, is only accessible via ferry. It’s 420 miles and an eight-hour drive, in transit one way.

– Kelowna vs. Prince George: seven hours and 40 minutes apart for two teams that have combined for 80 wins. Kelowna has won 17 of the last 20 meetings. But keep in mind, they’ve lost rock star goaltender Jackson Whistle and leading scorer Nick Merkley to season-ending injuries.

Pull up a chair and buckle up. Al Kinisky and I open the radio doors tomorrow night at 6:30pm on Fox Sports 1380.