On the road again is not so bad!
The Windsor Spitfires don’t play another home game at the WFCU Centre until after Christmas – on December 29. Their next twelve games are on the road and that prospect is not as potentially debilitating as some junior hockey pundits think it could be. It’s no big deal at all and in fact, a poor performance by the team might end up helping them significantly when it comes Memorial Cup time next spring.
Sure a bad record – say one or two or three wins will adversely affect the team’s seeding when it comes to the Ontario Hockey League play-offs but the fact of the matter is that the Windsor Spitfires do not have to win another game on the road this season – both regular season and playoffs – and they could still win the Memorial Cup as the host team next May. Admittedly, that is an unlikely scenario, but possible nonetheless.
Let’s get one thing straight: if the Windsor Spitfires play poorly and underachieve in their games before they return to the friendly confines of the WFCU Centre, don’t think for one moment that general manager Warren Rychel is going to sit still with his team’s personnel. If team weaknesses are exposed over the course of the next few weeks, rest assured that Rychel will be burning up the phone lines looking to correct that situation. Players who underachieve in the next little while aren’t going to still be here after the OHL trade deadline on January 10, 2017.
Oh, by the way, the team is not going on a 12-game road trip. The schedule is broken down into two three-game trips and two two-game road trips. There are also two single game road trips – to Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie – as well. The reality is that this schedule – despite its length – is very palatable and do-able – especially for highly-skilled teenage hockey players who are used to life and playing games on the road.
The Windsor Spitfires are not about to become nomads for the next five weeks and will not be not moving from one city to another to another without seeing Windsor for an unusually long time. The players will be sleeping in their billets’ beds, going to school in Windsor and practicing at the WFCU community rinks in-between their upcoming dozen games on the road, most of which take place on weekends.
And indeed, the Spitfires currently have 6 cards available to bring in new players prior to the January 10, 2017 OHL trade deadline which means there is significant opportunity to shake things up and address team weaknesses before the final team roster is set for the season.
And if and when the team does perform well over the next dozen games away from Windsor, there are still going to be changes made to the Spitfires’ lineup. They may not be as sweeping as they would be in response to poor team performances on the road – but there are going to be changes made.