Earlier in the week I caught up with the Spruce Kings General Manager to talk about what has been and what will be for the team as they move into the second half of the season. The original interview was interrupted by the news that the League had received a request for supplementary discipline for Trevor Esau on a hit in game number 29 of the season. The hit itself did not result in a penalty call from the game's official but did result in the Spruce Kings, specifically Esau, tying the game up at 3; which was ultimately how the game finished. For comments from Mike Hawes, see the previous post here on the Spruce Kings Crusader.
The conversation then turned to where it was originally intended to go and that was to discuss the first thirty games that are now in the books and to look ahead at the next thirty games in the team's 40th anniversary season. To date this has been one of the team's more successful outings in the BCHL, but as you will hear, there is room for improvement. With a record that places the team tied for the fourth and final playoff position there is a sense that things are looking up for the team. Conversely, a closer look at some recent games reveals an unsettling trend of games being decided by a single goal and most of them not in the Spruce Kings favour.
With the exception of Game 30, a 4-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the Spruce Kings previous seven games were all one goal games with the common theme being a 3-2 decision. In those seven games the Spruce Kings posted a record of 1-4-1-1 and the game against the Silverbacks was the first time Prince George scored more than three goals in a game going back to November 13th. All in all the team still has 31 points in 30 games with a record of 13-12-2-3. This first part of the interview starts with Mike answering the question of whether or not he is happy with a better than .500 record heading into the second half of the season.download audio file
So with the future looking bright but definitely hanging on the shoulders of the players, we turned our attention to the games that still need to be played in this season. Interestingly enough the Spruce Kings has played their season series against the Merritt Centennials and won't be seeing them anymore. That leaves the Westside Warriors and the Chilliwack Chiefs to make up a larger portion of the remaining games. We talked about that but also talked about the three games that need to be played out before the Christmas break and the fact that Trevor Esau will be missing in the first two of those three this weekend.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of the immediate games to be played is that Esau will be sidelined for the two games played in his back yard. On Friday night a large group of family and friends were expected to attend the game in Chilliwack to watch "Easy" play and deliver the hard hits that have been coming with more frequency.download audio file
On a side note, the Spruce Kings will have two AP'ed defenceman in the lineup Friday night with Latrell Charleson seeing his first action with the Spruce Kings and Karan Toor getting into the lineup for a tenth time. Charleson is with the Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League and was signed to an AP card earlier this week. At 16 years of age, Charleson is grabbing the attention of scouts and not just for his impressive size - he stands 6'4" and is 220lbs and can pack a wallop. Toor is expected to be in the lineup for all three games; he has been showing an ability to play on the backend that the coaching staff appreciates, hence the extra callups.