Regina sits first in the Eastern Conference
What the Puck?
Another season of Regina Pats hockey is upon us. After finishing out of the playoffs for the past three seasons, a few hopeful fans are predicting a playoff run. However, most others are simply hoping to not be the swamp donkey of the Western Hockey League this year.
The Pats have been in regular-season action for the past two weeks and have played five games. Surprisingly, the team does not sit at or near the bottom of the standings; in fact, they sit first.
As of press time, the Pats are currently atop of the Eastern Conference standings and sit just one point back of the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Wheat Kings may be used to sitting at the top end of the standings, but this is unfamiliar territory for the Pats.
It’s tough not to get excited about the prospect of possibly making the playoffs this year when the team is doing so well, but then you have to stop and think to yourself, “Oh wait, it has only been five games, with five games down and 77 more to go,’ I don’t like those odds. So much is going to change by the time that final puck of the regular season is dropped that it isn’t even funny.
Players and fans are going to have to get through trade rumours, hideous losses, annoying injuries, embarrassing plays, the trade deadline, tries and triumphs of a new coaching staff, and so much more before the season wraps up.
With all of the new changes that the Pats have made this season, there are basically two ways that this year could go: horribly wrong or awesomely right.
Since the Pats were able to get all but one player back from their respective NHL camps, they will have a strong base to build this year’s squad on. However, the base will have a few cracks; the one player that didn’t return was their captain.
Garrett Mitchell, who has been a member of the Regina Pats since 2006, was an automatic leader for the squad even when he didn’t have the official C on his left shoulder. Mitchell was a natural choice for the captain of the Pats, and his leadership both on and off the ice is something that the Washington Capitals have liked in him since they drafted him 175th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Mitchell attended his third professional camp this past summer and, although he did not make the show, the Capitals sent Mitchell down to the Hershey Bears, their AHL affiliate with whom Mitchell has spent time with the past three summers after the Pats’ premature exit from the season.
Mitchell has been given an incredible opportunity and, although Pats fans will hate to see him go, his absence from the Pats will also give other players a chance to step up and assume bigger roles this year.
The successor to Mitchell’s captainship will likely be Brandon Davidson, who recently returned from camp with the Edmonton Oilers. Davidson is a natural choice for the captain this year, as he is vocal, skilled, and well-liked by his fellow teammates. Although Davidson has a very different style of play than Mitchell had, he would fill the role of captain quite nicely.
With that said, Pats fans must enjoy the time that they have at the top of the standings with a record that is over .500. The time to rub success in the face of our opponents is now, and Pats fans need to realize that before it is too late.
In other Pats’ news, fans can now buy game-worn jerseys from their favourite former players. You could be the owner of a Matt Delahey jersey, for those of you who don’t remember who Delahey was it is because the Pats traded him back at the 2010 trade deadline, meaning that this game-worn jersey probably hasn’t been touched in two years and must stink like bloody hell. If this sounds appealing to you, the jersey can be yours for the low, low price of $150 . Am I the only one that feels this is a giant rip-off? That is all.