'W' Also Means Wake-up Call
It is an exciting and anxious time of the hockey season when talk turns to division championships, playoff scenarios and magic numbers. This afternoon, in a matinee game against the Springfield Falcons, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers clinched a spot in the playoffs. Nice accomplishment for a very good team and well deserved but only the first step.
( A Team Celebration/Photo: Pope Steve XXLVII)
In mid-January each year I have to select which weeks I would like to take for my vacations. Ever the optimist, I chose the week following the end of the AHL’s regular season this year. The team was just too damned good not to make the post season and I did not want to miss a game. Today the team got the ‘W’. The asterisk next to their name, indicating the division leader, will be replaced with an ‘X’ – made the playoffs. Next step is to replace that coveted ‘X’ with a ‘Y’ – Division Champion and the team has five hours of hockey remaining to earn it.
Here is what is known about the playoff race as of today:
- The Norfolk Admirals are the #1 seed. As of tonight this team has won an AHL record setting 23 games in a row. The previous record was 17. (I pity the eight seed.)
- The #2 seed will go to the St. John's Ice Caps. Formerly the Manitoba Moose, this team has sold out every home game for the season. Home ice for them is a true advantage.
- An in-state battle between the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears will be a hard fought contest between perennial powerhouse Pennsylvania clubs in a battle of seeds #4 and #5.
- Which two of the five legitimate contenders to join the dance as the #7 and #8 seeds will probably not be known till the final weekend of the season.
- The two Connecticut teams will face each other as the #3 seed vs. #6 seed match-up.
What is not known, is which team from CT, will have home-ice advantage as this years' Northeastern Division Champion. That advantage, small as it may appear, could be huge in determining which team advances to the next round of the the playoffs. Can the Sound Tigers, who finished last in the division the year before, bring home the banner as Champs this year? With appologies to Gretchen Wilson, and red-necked women everywhere,'Hell Yeah!'. Go Tigers!
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