1. I think that the Edmonton WAM! are going to have to win no less than ten of their remaining 16 games if they are going to avoid missing the NRL Championship for the first time in team history. With a record of 5-8-0-1 through 14 games, the WAM will have dug a hole they have never had to deal with before.
2. I think that after a very tough 0-6 start, the Gloucester Devils are getting hot. They’ve won eight of their last ten games and are in shape now to really make some noise in the second half of the season if they keep this up. Their +9 goal differential for the season is a good sign that they are for real and this is not just a random hot streak.
3. I think that the Saskatoon Wild are going to win a game this year. After going 0-28 last year, and opening 0-15 this season there are a lot of reasons to be down. But, despite that record, there is a lot going there. The Wild gave the first place Prairie Fire a couple of tough games and they have been competitive against every team they have played. Sometimes records are deceptive, and the Wild’s struggles are a good example of that.
4. I think that five points currently separate 5th and 11th places in the Eastern conference. With only eight playoff spots up for grabs, that group in the middle will have to do something special to break away from the pack. There is not likely to be an easy path for any team to make the playoffs – it is going to take hard work an preparation, no matter what.
5. I think that Chantal St Laurent of the Quebec City Cyclones has a 14 game goal scoring streak going right now. And, that this is the longest goal-scoring streak of anyone this season. In previous years, it was not uncommon to have season-long streaks for goal scorers and this year, it seems that the big guns can’t be relied upon alone anymore. It seems scoring has to come from more than one place.
6. I think that in scoring among defenders, Beth Hurren’s lead in both goals and points is crizazzle-beans. With 22 goals and 37 points, Hurren has almost tripled the total of the next defender in both categories.
7. I think that the Wakefield/Gaudet and Ferguson combos are starting to pull away from the pack in the NRL sister scoring standings. But we should keep an eye on the Luggs who have shot up since last month:
Jackie Gaudet (Cambridge) and Jenn Wakefield (LMRL) 112
Andrea and Ainsley Ferguson (Prairie Fire) 100
Stephanie, Annie-Pier and Karine Seguin (Montreal) 72
Katie and Carrie Lugg (Ottawa) 71
Jessica and Gen Pepper (Rive Sud) 65
8. I think the LMRL Thunder vs Manitoba Jets weekend was a huge one for the Jets. By getting five of six points in those games, the Jets opened a much bigger lead on the WAM! and got within shouting distance of the RATH and Thunder ahead of them. A huge weekend, and a really huge weekend for goalkeeper Amy Clarkson who stopped 110 of 124 shots she faced and shut down the Thunder in a shootout win.
9. I think that seven time zones is a lot of time zones. The Richmond Hill Lightning and the Cambridge Turbos both faced the daunting task of performing at the highest levels in Finland while still adjusting to time zones, styles of play and new surroundings. Neither team really got its legs under them until late in the tournament and by then it was too little too late. Both teams gave their all and represented our league with pride no matter the outcome.
10. I think these are my non-NRL thoughts this week:
a. I think that I have one more NRL thought – Catherine Cartier of the Montreal Mission has 393 career goals. With seven more she will be the first player in league history to hit the 400-goal mark – another milestone in an incredible career.
b. I think that the Tim Hortons Canadian Ringette Championships are getting closer and closer. With 48 teams joining in the fun and competition this year, the event is sure to be unforgettable. The host committee in Burnaby is working like crazy to get everything in place for the nearly 2000 visitors that will descend on the Lower Mainland from April 8th to 14th.
c. I think that Chopped has eclipsed Iron Chef America has my favourite cooking competition in show. In other news, I remain a nerd.