Tomorrow night’s game between the Rimouski Océanic and the Moncton Wildcats has been circled on countless people’s calendars since the beginning of the season.
Everyone wants to see Alexis Lafrenière play at the Avenir Centre.
They want to say the famous line, “I saw him play in Moncton” when he’s playing at hockey’s highest level next season.
The anticipation for Game 496 on the QMJHL schedule is palpable.
From a Wildcats perspective it’s measuring stick time.
From a Océanic perspective it’s measuring stick time.
You see Game 496 is nothing more than that.
Just another regular season game with 2pts on the line.
Nevertheless, it could very well be a preview for a possible 2nd round President Cup Playoff Series, but we aren’t there yet.
From a players perspective these games are extremely fun and exciting to be a part of.
From a coaching perspective these are the kind of games where you fill the hard drive with video clips.
It’s one teachable moment that both coaching staff’s won’t want to miss out on.
Don’t get me wrong this is an important game as far as the standings are concerned.
Home ice means everything come the post season, or does it?
That remains to be seen this season, it certainly didn’t help the Baie-Comeau Drakkar last season.
Both these organizations have gone head to head before and its led to many memorable QMJHL moments.
There’s a lot similarities between these two storied organizations this season.
The Wildcats and Océanic of course went all in and rightfully so, but in some aspects both organizations pushed the envelope to do so.
It would appear the Wildcats will be in worse shape next season than the Oceanic, but that doesn’t mean much when you are raising a banner or two.
Just ask the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
I really hope fans won’t be disappointed by tomorrow nights game if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
There’s so much anticipation for this one, that sometimes there will be a slight let down especially if the home side lays an egg or doesn’t show up or play well.
It’s Game 496, it’s not for the Stanley Cup.
Nonetheless, you will see which players and group have the extra incentive and will to win.
Is Game 496 a massive test for these teams, hell no!
Is Game 496 the be all end of games?
Will it be extremely exciting to watch and comment on, hell yeah.
Is it a test, hell no, its Game 55 for the Cats and Game 57 for the Oceanic.
It’s not a Game 7.
It’s not the playoffs.
It’s a regular season game that will reveal players character, poise, temperament, make up and composure.
If there is one test component to the game it’s how will certain players handle the pressure of the moment, will they stay calm, cool and collected or will they buckle under the pressure and expectations?
Can both sides stay disciplined?
Will they stick to the game plan or deviate and try to do it all themselves?
Game 496 is a big game, but it’s certainly not a test.
The real test comes when the post season starts!
That’s when they play for keeps!