In other Huskies matters we should say welcome back to Steven Fast and goodbye to Dan Pappin. Fast returned to the Huskies lineup last weekend against Sexsmith and showed flashes of the form that made him one of the top Huskies in the league last year. We should see the young Fast more often than not for the rest of the season and no one is happier about that than Kole Norris. Dylan Apsassin should also return to the lineup soon. Pappin, the second leading goal scorer on the team, is done for the season due to work commitments and will be missed.
The Huskies aren’t a very good team and are not the second best team in the league as their record would suggest.
That is the perception of the Huskies around the league and a comment that I have heard on a number of occasions so far this season from neutral observers, and the not so neutral as well, all around the NWJHL. It isn’t a comment that I necessarily agree with however. I tend to disagree because I have seen how good the Huskies can be when they are on top of their game. At times though I have understood where those sentiments are coming from as I have seen how bad the Pups can be when they are bad. Which has happened on too many nights lately. Including their last outing against the Sexsmith Vipers.
Let’s break down the standings for just a second. The Huskies are currently in second place in the NWJHL 6 points clear of the third place Grande Prairie Wheelers. The Wheelers have a game in hand and could close the gap to 4 points. The worrying stat for the Huskies and their fans is their record in the last 10 games. 4 wins and 6 losses. Two of those losses have come at the hands of the Sexsmith Vipers. In fact the Vipers have beaten the Huskies three times this season. The Vipers only won 3 games ALL of last year. Now Sexsmith is obviously a much improved team but it is a team the Huskies should be beating.
In fact, even when the Huskies were winning a lot of their games early in the season the coaching staff wasn’t happy with the way they were winning. They were getting the two points without playing well. It’s no wonder there are some around the league who don’t think the Huskies are as good as their standing suggests.
I believe there is a very good team in that Huskies locker room and hopefully one that can compete with Whitecourt. If for no other reason than to make the league, and hopefully the playoffs, interesting again. But there is a perception around the league that the Huskies aren’t very good, a perception that the Huskies need to use as motivation. Play with a chip on their shoulder as the old cliché goes and start beating teams that they are supposed to beat. It is time for the Huskies to start proving they are an elite team in the NWJHL because while there may be some disagreement on how good the Pups actually are there is no doubt that the talent is there.What better place to start than guaranteed win night at NPA against those age old rivals from mile zero?
The All-Star game is this Saturday in Sexsmith and there will be 8 Huskies in the lineup and 3 behind the bench. Congratulations to all of them. I am sure like last year the All Star game will be a lot of fun. Jon and I will be bringing the game to you live starting at 5:45pm Saturday night. We will have results from, and reaction to, the Skills Competition as well.
I mentioned it briefly above but tomorrow night is guaranteed win night at the NPA. If the Pups don’t beat Dawson Creek and you are in the stands you will get a prize courtesy of KFC. The puck drops at 8pm and with the way the Junior Canucks have been playing lately this game will be anything but easy for the Huskies. For more on “Guaranteed Win Night” check out the story Jon wrote yesterday.