Divisional series underway in MLB playoffs
The “Drive for Five” is on for the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers.
Winners of the last four Island Junior Hockey League championships, the Vipers will attempt to become only the second team in the history of junior hockey on P.E.I. to win five consecutive championships.
One has to go all the way back to the 1970s and the old Island Junior Hockey League to find a team that accomplished what this year's Vipers have a chance to do. In 1974, the Island Junior B Hockey League became the Island Junior A Hockey League, and the Charlottetown Colonels started a streak of five in a row. They won under the Colonels’ name in ‘74, ‘75 and ‘76, the Generals in ‘77 and completed the streak as the Eagles in 1978.
That was impressive then, and the streak the Vipers are on now is equally, or maybe even more, impressive now. Consider the fact that the Vipers have won eight of the last 10 league championships and two of the last three Atlantic championships, and one can see the success this organization has enjoyed.
Kensington’s head brass Pat McIver, Trent Leard and Wade Waddell, amongst others, have done a splendid job in Kensington. With the added incentive of five in a row dangling out there, one will not be surprised if the Vipers win another league title this year.
The Summerside Western Capitals had to be pleased with their opening-game attendance, but yet disappointed in the numbers at last Sunday's game. The announced crowd at their home opener two weeks ago of 1,600 was a good opening crowd. Although I do not think last Sunday's crowd was announced, estimates had it in the 500 range.
That is quite a drop from game to game, and must be a concern for the new ownership group. It was a beautiful and sunny 22-degree day last Sunday, and I can certainly think of a lot of places I would sooner spend the beautiful day than a hockey rink.
Obviously many who attended the Caps' opener felt the same way last Sunday. As I have said before, hockey at all levels is starting at least a month too soon, but that is not likely to change with the major junior camps opening in mid-August, and the other leagues following.
The Caps have had their early-season home games played in the evenings before, and doing so again would help. Even Sunday afternoon's game comes on the heels of back-to-back night games on the road, and the Caps could use a little extra afternoon rest. You want to give your team and organization the best chance to succeed, and having a Sunday night game would seem logical, especially this week.
To be fair, the Caps new owners are just getting their feet wet and one can bet that notes are being filed for next year, or at least they should be.
It would seem like just a matter of time before fighting is either banned or at least contained a little better.
That sideshow in the game between Montreal and Toronto the other night has many calling for a ban on fisticuffs, and that may come sooner than later with many of the NHL higher-ups coming on board with their views.
Most, and myself included, do not mind a good scrap between two players that are mad at each other over something that took place in the game, but these staged fights are a joke. The NHL is trying to eliminate headshots from the game, but allowing players to put the bare knuckles to each other’s heads is defeating the purpose. It seems stupid because it is!
Fighting in hockey at least needs to be controlled better, and through time it will be.
Baseball playoffs are underway as both the American and National Leagues having at least one or two games played in the each division series.
Like many, I do not follow the National League much anymore, and probably because the Montreal Expos no longer exist.
It looks like the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers are headed for the National League Championship Series (NLCS), with both looking good in getting Game 1 wins on Thursday.
Many are probably rooting for the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates against the Cardinals, and if for no other reason than the Pirates having Canadian-born players Justin Morneau and Russell Martin in their lineup.
In the American League, it should be a great series between Boston and Tampa Bay. It seems like the Red Sox are a team of destiny, but those low-budget Rays are always a force to be reckoned with.
The Rays’ Joe Maddon is one of the best managers – if not the best manager in baseball – and having him in charge gives the Rays a chance against the favoured Red Sox.
The Detroit Tigers will have their hands more than full with this exciting Oakland A's team managed by Bob Melvin. The Tigers have great starting pitching, but their offence has gone silent over the last week of the regular season. If there is an upset in the making, this series could be it.
Twenty years ago on Oct. 3 1993, the Summerside Western Capitals opened their season with a 5-4 loss to the Moncton Beavers before a modest but noisy crowd of 450 fans at Cahill Stadium.
Darren Ashley, Gary Cooper, Wade Waddell and Matt McGuffin had the Capitals’ goals. The Caps had a chance to tie it up late in the game, but Waddell was foiled on a penalty-shot attempt at 17:20 of the third period.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.