Ten Things I Think I Think – February 2011

 

1. I think that the playoff situation in the Eastern Conference is muddled. This is the format to arrive at the six teams that will be attending the NRL Championship tournament from the Eastern Conference:  

– Cambridge will attend as the Host team or based on their standing, whichever is higher;

– The top two teams in the conference advance directly to the NRL Championship;

– The next eight teams are involved in best of three series to determine the other four spots.

 
So……
 
Team
Points (today)
Remaining games
What they need
Cambridge
60
0
Clinched first
Montreal
50
vs LSL
vs Rive Sud
Need one point to clinch 2nd
Ottawa
50
0
Have clinched at least 3rd place.
Richmond Hill
37
@ Waterloo
vs Waterloo
Nothing. They will finish 4th.
Rive Sud
31
vs Montreal

Need a win and for Waterloo to lose one point to clinch 5th. Could finish as low as 6th.

Quebec City
30
0
Can finish no worse than 6th, but could fall to 7th.
Waterloo
29
vs Richmond Hill
@ Richmond Hill
Can move up to 5th with two wins and some help. Can finish no worse than 7th.
Gloucester
23
@ Gatineau
Locked into 8th place.
Gatineau
20
vs Gloucester

A win clinches the team’s first ever playoff spot. A loss, and they could miss the playoffs.

Whitby
20
0
Need an LSL loss to guarantee a playoff spot.
LSL
19
@ Montreal

Need a shootout loss and a Gatineau loss to create a three way tie. A win clinches a playoff spot no matter what.

 

2. I think that in the West, the picture is much more clear. The Prairie Fire, Edmonton WAM! and the Calgary RATH have punched their tickets to the NRL Championship already. Prairie Fire will be the #1 seed from the west. Calgary has five games remaining in which to make up the two point deficit to the WAM!. So, the two games next weekend between the WAM! and the RATH will be important in terms of seeding. 

3. I think that Whitby currently sits in the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Going into this weekend, the Wild were well out, and pretty much dead in the water. But, a three-win weekend, punctuated by a huge win over Gatineau has put the Wild in a great spot. The Wild have had quite a push in the second half of the season and may very well be one of those teams you don’t want to play in a playoff series. 

4. I think that the league is a lot closer this year than last. Last year in the East, 15 points would have earned you a playoff spot, this year, it will take at least 20 to get into the post-season. Points in this league are getting harder and harder to come by as the lower ranked teams are getting a bigger and bigger share of the pie.  

5. I think that in the NFL, the team that is the hottest going into the playoffs tend to make the most noise when they get there. The Packers were on a three game winning streak this year before taking the big prize, for instance (by the way – GO PACK GO). This year, there are few examples of teams putting it all together down the stretch.

 
– Cambridge: 10-0 in their final 10 games
– Montreal: 7-1-0-2 in their final 10
– Richmond Hill and Ottawa: 7-3 in their last 10
– Calgary is currently riding a 7 game winning streak. 

6. I think the trades at the deadline have been interesting to say the least. Montreal loaded up for a run this year. Rive Sud and Richmond Hill added depth. Whitby built for the future. All of the trades were part of clear-cut strategies by the teams making them – they knew where they were going. 

7. I think that Brianna Thompson of the Waterloo Wildfire had some kind of a game on Feburary 12. Six goals in an 11-2 win over Whitby. six goals….six! 

8. I think that what the Prairie Fire has done this season has been really remarkable. After a bronze medal finish at the 2010 NRL Championship, they appear to have improved noticeably this season. The Fire have only three losses in the very tight Western Conference this season. They have lost one game each to fellow playoff teams Calgary and Edmonton and once to cross-town rivals the Manitoba Jets. Going 5-1 against Edmonton or Calgary is huge, going 5-1 against both of them means you are a real contender. The Prairie Fire are ready for the NRL Championship – but after a season like that, they will surprise no one, they had better be ready! 

9. I think that there are several teams that are on hot streaks going into the playoffs and the NRL Championships, but none are hotter right now that the Prairie Fire’s Ferguson sisters. Team Canada member Andrea has been scoring at a five goals/game clip in the month of February and her sister Ainsley at a 4.3 rate. Only Jacqueline Gaudet (4.66/game) and Sharolyn Wouters (4.57/game) are above the four goal/game rate this month. All of these players are dangerous at the best of times, but now, they are also in the zone. 

10. I think these are my non-NRL thoughts of the month: 

a. I think that the final at the Canada Winter Games was incredible. Eleven goals in the first half. Three in the second. Ontario wins the whole thing in overtime. An incredible game to top off an incredible tournament. Thanks to all the teams for the great show, the coaches for leading the way, and to the organizers in Halifax for hosting all of us as well as you did.  

b. I think that PrinceGeorge, BC is up next as the host of the Canada Games. Can’t wait! 

c. I think that I was proud to be involved in the NRL when I was at the Canada Games. Apart from several players who are on NRL rosters as affiliates or full roster members there were at least three coaches at the Canada Games who also play in the NRL. Playing in the NRL is a huge commitment – and so is coaching at the Canada Games. These incredible athlete/coaches are doing both and we should all be incredibly grateful for their contributions. 

d. I think that at the Canada Games, Ringette Canada put on a good show. The athletes, coaches and officials wowed the capacity crowds with the incredible ringette each and every day. And, while that was happening, @redringette was tweeting, each and every day. So much so, in fact, that @redringette was the 4thmostinfluentialtwitteraccount active at the Games. 

e. I think that the following needs to be said about the Grammys:

– Mumford and Sons are awesome.

– Gwyneth Paltrow + Cee Lo dressed like big bird + muppets = awesome.

– Eminem = modern genius.

– Even Cambridge head coach, and HUGE Bob Dylan fan Glen Gaudet would likely concede that Dylan’s performance was, well…. kind of weird. But he’s Dylan, so he gets to do whatever he wants.

– A quick tour of twitter will make you realize that A LOT of ringette players like Justin Bieber. I have ringette player’s backs on everything…except that.