Portland vs Everett - Unless G Kent Simpson (assuming he's healthy) can steal a game, this one is over quick. I'll say Portland in a sweep. Too many weapons, too much power for Everett to compete with.
Kelowna vs PG - Prince George is actually getting a lot of respect in this series going in. Some are even calling for PG in six but I'm not buying it. Kelowna is playing a good team game and have the best goaltender in the Western Conference going in. Adam Brown has been great most of the season. Tyson Barrie is a game-breaker and the Rockets have way more depth up front. Rockets in five.
Spokane vs Chilliwack - Spokane comes in waves and they are the best "team" going into the playoffs. Chilliwack has a great PP unit and D Brandon Manning will play 40 minutes in this one. Chilliwack will get worn down but Lucas Gore will steal a game or two before all is said and done. Spokane wins in six.
Tri City vs Vancouver - If these two teams match-up their top lines it would be quite the show. Tri-City's mobility on the back-end will be a difference maker. Tri-City has had the Giants number lately. Tri in five.
How can you tell it's playoff time? The chatter amongst media is at a season high. Yesterday I was a guest on a pair of radio sports talks shows. Rod Pedersen's Sports Cage on Regina's 620 CKRM and Dan Russell's CKNW Sports Talk in Vancouver. All five BC division broadcasters joined Russell for the hour long segment. It was a lot of fun although I felt like I was at the prom without a date considering the other four broadcasters, and Dan with Shaw TV were all getting set to call a 1st round playoff series.
Speaking of playoffs, former Swift Current Bronco Assistant Coach Tim Kehler has his season on the line tonight in Salmon Arm with the BCHL's Silverbacks.
The Silverbacks and Vernon play game six of the Interior Conference Final tonight in S.A. After the Silverbacks won the first two games of the series, Vernon has come back to win the last three including a controversial OT win last night in Vernon. Vernon apparently was credited with a goal that was initially waved off. The officials converged and deemed it a good goal. Although I wasn't there, word is Kehler gave the gate at the bench a pretty good workout.
I'll head over to Salmon Arm tonight to see if T.K. can get the series to a game seven.
I think Blazer F Colin Smith has a really good chance of winning the WHL's Scholastic Player of the Year award in Calgary May 5th. He's up against last year's winner Adam Lowry of the Swift Current Broncos. Smith it appears had a higher average and just a slight edge in points. The WHL awards ceremony is a day before the WHL bantam draft.
Speaking of the bantam draft, it looks like I'll be heading to Calgary for the festivities. The Blazers will have their highest pick in franchise history thanks to winning the lottery earlier this week. Calgary has the #1 pick. Is Warman, SK defenseman Ryan Pilon the most coveted heading into the draft or have a few names caught up?
Spokane vs Medicine Hat - that's my call for the WHL Championship series. A lot of people have Brandon upsetting the Tigers in the opening round. I don't see it. Medicine Hat and Saskatoon has the potential to be a great 2nd round series. I'm calling the 'Hat for the upset.
Enjoy the playoffs,