Ten Things I Think I Think – March 24, 2010

1. I think that home ice advantage in the eastern playoffs is a giant deal. In the East, the home team won each and every best of three series in each of the two years that the east has used this format.

2. I think that if the Eastern playoff trend continues, the team that can score will win. Before you think about how staggeringly obvious that it is, bear with me. In the playoffs, only Rive Sud scored four goals and lost a game (in game two, vs Waterloo). It seems that any amount of goals above five is gravy. The key in big games appears to be holding the other team to three or less.

3. I think that Calgary really needed to finish the season with a win – and they did. After being swept, at home, by the Prairie Fire and then splitting the first two with Saskatoon (also at home) the RATH risked going into the national championship tournament on a very cold streak. They managed to get by Saskatoon 4-0 in their last game giving them a breath of fresh air to wrap up the season. For their parts, Saskatoon is likely pretty pleased with getting three points out of their series in Calgary, a good showing that should make it clear that the Wild must not be taken lightly at the national championship.

4. I think that Montreal’s Claudia Jette had quite a playoff series. In two games versus BLL, Jette stopped all 47 shots she faced in the Montreal sweep. I also think that Ottawa’s Tori Goble was not too shabby, stopping 46 of 49 in two games against Richmond Hill.

5. I think (well…. technically, I know) that these are the pools for the NRL Championship:
Pool A:
Edmonton WAM!
Montreal Mission
Prairie Fire
Gloucester Devils
Saskatoon Wild
Pool B:
Cambridge Turbos
Calgary RATH
Ottawa Ice
Waterloo Wildfire
Atlantic Sixers
I also think (know) that the teams will play a round robin in their pool with the top three teams advancing. The teams that advance will then play the other teams that advanced from the other pool. The wrinkle is that they will carry the points they got against the other advancing teams with them to the championship pool. This means that if a team goes into the championship pool with a 2-0 record against the other advancing teams from their pool, they start the next round with the 2-0 record already in place. So, teams are playing games that might count in the championship round right from the start, so there is never a chance to take a game off or let your guard down. All the chips are on the table starting Tuesday April 6 at 8:30am when the host Saskatoon Wild take on the Edmonton WAM! in the first game.

6. I think that this season, Julie Fleury Roy of the Quebec Cyclones saw more rubber than a dead skunk on the trans Canada highway (For the record, that is not my weirdest expression – but it is in the top 5). Fleury-Roy faced 1241 shots this season, stopping 1117 of them, making her the only goalie to record more than 1000 saves this season.

7. I think that the Calgary RATH led the league in attendance this year with over 2,100 people passing the turnstiles this season in Cowtown.

8. I think that after much anticipation – these are the errors (that I can remember) this season in the Ten Things I Think I Think:
a. Last week, I listed the National team players that play another sport. I missed that Cambridge’s Vanessa Cowlen is also a lacrosse player.
b. On February 20th, Waterloo’s Shelly Kraemer scored four goals, on February 14, Montreal’s Annie-Pier Seguin scored three goals, and on February 6, Prairie Fire’s Sheena MacDonald scored three goals – I missed all of these in the summary of 3+ goal games.
c. In the playoff preview, I had the season series between Quebec and Gloucester all wrong.
d. I insinuated that Stephanie Ebel only reads the Ten Things when she is in them. She also reads them when her teammates are in there.
e. I said at one point that Prairie Fire had "Two wins on the weekend" in Edmonton. This should have say "Two Big Wins on the weekend", as it meant that Prairie Fire got some points on the road they had not necessarily planned on. Oops.
f. I think I made the grave error of not making some reference to "Pants on the Ground" back when I had the chance and everyone was talking about it.
g. I said that BLL had gone winless for a month at one point, when they had won a game in the middle of that month.
h. I missed numerous errors (I assume) in my "Errors this season" section.
i. Last week I made a reference to "Happy Days" forgetting that most of the demographic reading this does not remember Happy Days. Then…I felt oh so very old.

9. I think these are the league leaders this season:
Individual Leaders:
Goals: Catherine Cartier (Montreal) – 77
Assists: Stephanie Seguin (Montreal) – 54
Points: Catherine Cartier (Montreal) – 122
Penalty Minutes: Victoria Russell (Calgary) – 62
First Star Selections: Jackie Gaudet (Cambridge) – 17
Game Winning Goals: Jackie Gaudet (Cambridge) – 8
Goals By a Rookie: Marilyne Bedard (Rive Sud) – 51
Assists By a Rookie: Kristin Bortolon (Richmond Hill) – 25
Points By a Rookie: Marilyne Bedard (Rive Sud) – 65
Wins By a Goalie: Meghan Pittaway (Cambridge) – 27
Goals Against Average: Tori Goble (Ottawa) – 2.28
Save Percentage: Tori Goble (Ottawa) – 0.912
Shootout Save Percentage: Elise Crocker (Prairie Fire) – 0.850
Total Shootout Saves: Amy Clarkson (Manitoba Jets) – 12
Minutes Played: Julie Fleury-Roy (Quebec) – 1238
Team Leaders:
Winning Percentage: Cambridge Turbos – 0.935
Most Goals Scored: Montreal Mission – 241
Fewest Goals Allowed: Ottawa Ice – 70
Most Penalty Minutes: Rive Sud Revolution – 362
Fewest Penalty Minutes: Edmonton WAM! – 210
Most Shots On Goal Per Game: Cambridge Turbos – 40.2

10. I think these are my non-NRL thoughts this week:
a. I think that if you are headed to Saskatoon for the NRL Championship at the Tim Hortons Canadian Ringette Championships you should be prepared for a beautiful city, along the river. Some of the best hotel-rink commutes you could ever hope for!
b. I think that if you are looking for a way to fill the post-ringette void after Saskatoon I have good news. Glee is coming back!! I have April 13 circled on my calendar – do you? Sue Sylvester is my favourite person on TV right now and I can’t wait for her nastiness to return to my living room!
c. I think this Ten Things has been fun this season. I will be doing some amount of things I think each day during the NRL Championship and a bit in the off-season, but the pace will now slow down quite a bit until the start of next season.
d. I think that I must once again give credit to the estimable Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports. I shamelessly ripped off the "Ten Things" idea from his incredible weekly "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on si.com. If you like the NFL at all and would like to see writing that it is at least 547% better than mine, check out his column whenever you have the chance.