Good morning and Happy Friday, Snakes fans! It's the last weekend of the regular season for the Snakes with playoff seeding still up in the air. The guys head to Biloxi tonight to take on the Surge and Huntsville tomorrow night for their 56th game.
Right now, the only thing certain about the playoffs is that the top-ranked Pensacola Ice Flyers will take on the number 8 Surge. All teams have two games left. It looks like Louisiana is firmly in second, four points ahead of Peoria. If Peoria wins out and LA loses both, the IceGators still retain second place as the first tiebreaker is number of wins. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess. Take a look at the standings yourself:
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Of course, the top four teams enjoy home ice advantage for the first round. An interesting development is that the RiverKings have already announced that they will have to play the whole first round on the road because they have no ice. Rumor has it that the IceGators are in the same predicament. That's a real shame as these teams have worked hard all season to gain a favorable playoff seed and their buildings are booked. That said, it's a real bonus for their opponents...
If the playoffs started today, the Snakes would play LA. How much of an advantage would it give them NOT to have to travel all the way to LA and get to sleep in their own beds for the whole first round? Of course, depending on how the next two games play out, who knows if the Snakes will end up in seventh.
Everybody completes the regular season tomorrow night, so we'll know the matchups then. From what I've heard, the Snakes do have ice all weekend, which is a good thing IF they play the Gators and IF the whole series is here. If, if, if. We'll know soon.
Speaking of possibilities, if I were a Huntsville Havoc fan, I'd definitely get a ticket to tomorrow night's game. Not saying Shannon Szabados will definitely start, but I wouldn't be surprised...:)
If you were at the Snakes home regular-season finale last Sunday, you saw that I was honored by the team in pre-game ceremonies. A couple of weeks ago, assistant GM Ashley Foster asked if I'd be willing to drop the first puck in my last regular-season game. I said sure, providing she drove me out there in the golf cart OR the paramedics were close by...lol. No way I'm trying to walk on that slick ice! She assured me that she and the golf cart would be ready.
The jersey was a complete surprise and most appreciated. Honestly, the puck drop acknowledging my service was enough. I never expected anything more and it was very kind and thoughtful. It's also very typical of the class of this organization. From Wanda Amos on down, the Cottonmouths always try to do things the right way. They made me feel valued and appreciated. Who could ask for more?
SPHL President Jim Combs came to town last Thursday, but missed the press conference introducing and welcoming Shannon. Jim made it a point to find me and wish me well. He, Doug Price and I have worked very well together during our SPHL years. Jim said that he hated to miss the press conference, because he already has his response ready when the inevitable question about a female goalie was posed.
He planned to maintain a straight face while saying he was definitely against this move because of where it would undoubtedly lead. "What's next...a female reporter? A female owner?" Still laughing and wish I could have seen this scenario unfold, Jim!
Now we head into the post-season, which drives a planner like me crazy...lol. You'll be happy to know that the interviews are done and the photo shot for my playoff preview. Yay, me. But, of course, the story can't be written until next week when the Snakes know who they're playing, when and where. Yikes.