I feel like every time I write one of these blogs I am apologizing for not having written more of them. Again I am sorry. Jon and I both feel that quality is more important than quantity, although sometimes I fear I bring neither. But today I was thinking about the season so far for the Flyers, and a thought struck me; it hasn’t really started yet.
The Fort St John Senior Flyers wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule tomorrow night at the NPA. Now maybe it is just me, but it seems like this team is almost waiting for the turn of the year before they start cranking it up on the road to the Allan Cup. I get this feeling for a couple of reasons not least of which is the fact that most of the games I have seen the Flyers play so far have lacked what Jon and I call ‘AAA’ intensity. They did play those two games early on against Lloydminster and Stony Plain but those games seemed to me to be more about condition and remember where that ‘AAA’ bar is set, rather than getting ready for the Allan Cup. Also, other than those two exhibitions we haven’t seen much of Carter, Manitowich and Brough.
The problem the Flyers have at the moment is that while the league games they play can prove to be challenging, you still get the sense when watching the Flyers play GP or Hythe that they aren’t anywhere near that ‘AAA’ level of competition. It’s almost like the Flyers are in second gear and need to play the Powell Rivers, Stony Plains or even Augustana Colleges of the world to start moving up through the gear box. We have talked about it several times, but when you are building towards an Allan Cup it must be hard to get excited about playing in league games, these guys are only human and this season is about that Allan Cup and nothing else. Now, you don’t want to develop bad habits and the coaching staff will be on the players to make sure they are buying into the system and all those other things that coaches focus on. Plus there is enough of a challenge from GP and Hythe to keep the Flyers sharp so the league games shouldn’t be dismissed. But bottom line this season is about one thing and the NPHL isn’t overly important.
So what is important? Preparing for the Allan Cup and that is where exhibition series’ come in so handy and why the New Year has to be the launching point of the Flyers Allan Cup preparation. It will be early 2010 when the Flyers will have to start to finding their ‘AAA’ game. They have several exhibition series planned or in the planning stages and it would be during those series that we would be most likely to see the out of towners like Brough and Carts. In fact they could be in town as early as January 2nd 2010 as the Flyers host Augustana College at the NPA. Plus there should be more exhibition games against AAA level opponents as the Allan Cup gets closer. There could even be an announcement, sometime in January, about the Savage Cup. If the Flyers are allowed to compete for the Savage Cup against Whitehorse and Powell River then that will be another important step on the road to April. Not to mention a chance to defend their crown.
So, while it seems as though the Flyers season, in an Allan Cup hosting year, has gotten off to a slow start, I think that is probably by design. In fact Jon and I have been kind of giving the Flyers the benefit of the doubt knowing that this season is a long one and they are building towards something. But once the calendar changes to 2010 the Flyers have to start getting better. If the foundation has now been laid it is time for the walls to start going up.