Here’s how the race for sixth place in the Western Conference stacks up with three weeks remaining in the regular season:
6. Vancouver, 70 points, 8 games remaining
7. Everett, 69, 10
8. Tri-City, 61, 10
9. Prince George, 60, 7
VANCOUVER (8): @Kel, Kel, Kam, @Por, @Sea, Vic, Kel, @Kel.
EVERETT (10): PA, TC, @Sea, Kel, @TC, @Sea, @Spo, @Vic, Vic, @Por.
TRI-CITY (10): Kel, @Evt, @Spo, Por, Evt, @Kel, @Por, @Spo, Spo, Sea.
PRINCE GEORGE (7): @Kel, Vic, Vic, Spo, Spo, @Kam, Kam.
Sixth place is obviously important for two reasons. First, Everett has its guarantee to season ticket holders of finishing no worse than sixth in the conference this season. Second, the team that finishes sixth avoids having to play either Kelowna or Portland in the first round of the playoffs.
As we enter the final stretch, there was a strange occurrence at Everett’s practice today: There were 23 players on the ice. That’s everyone on the current roster. OK, it wasn’t 23 completely healthy players as wingers Zane Jones and Tyler Sandhu were wearing no-contact jerseys and only partially involved in drills. But given Everett’s injury issues during the second half, that was a significant development. Everett isn’t at full strength yet, but for the first time since December the Tips have a view of the possibility. And with the race for sixth in full flow, that could be big news for Everett.