"Just win baby" was a catch phrase for the late Al Davis and his Raiders, but has also become something that the Amarillo Bulls have been able to do all season. The team is focused on one common goal, to bring the Robertson Cup to the Texas panhandle.
If their run through the regular season is any indication, I have to say that is a very attainable goal.
After clinching the North American Hockey League's South Division title a few weeks ago, the Bulls set out on a quest to finish strong and make a run at the league title. They added that notch to their belt with Saturday's hard fought battle against Amarillo's former Central Hockey League rival, the Odessa Jackalopes. Coming out on top with the 1-0 win was no easy task for the Bulls.
Now let's take a look at each of the divisional pictures.
The Jackalopes are hunting down a play-off shot and can do so if they win out their last three games on the road next weekend. Friday night they are in Wichita Falls, Saturday and Sunday in Topeka. Odessa is in a battle with Corpus Christi for the last play-off spot. The IceRays have just two opportunities to pull ahead of Odessa with a pair of game in Frisco against the Tornado. Topeka and Texas are deadlocked at 76 points each, so everybody is going to be watching the scoreboard this weekend.
The Bobcats sewed up the division title while Alexandria eliminated any of Austin's hope to move up with Sunday's 5-3 win over the Bruins. Aberdeen has the #4 spot locked in.
The Bandits have the division championship, while Janesville, Springfield, and Coulee Region are simply playing out the schedule as they are set for the playoffs.
The north division championship will be settled on the ice this weekend when the Fighting Falcons and K-Wings go at it in Port Huron on Friday night before the season finale in Kalamazoo on Saturday. Traverse City is set in the #3 position while the Michigan Warriors locked up the 4th play-off spot when Jamestown dropped Sunday's game to the K-Wings 6-4.
The defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs have the division locked up for the second straight season while Wenatchee and Alaska are clawing out the #2 spot. Frenso has a two-point lead over Kenai River for the fourth and final spot going into the last weekend. The Monsters close out the season in Wenatchee while Alaska hosts the Brown Bears.
It looks like NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld may be in a position to ask for a raise after settling almost all of the league's dormancy issues.
The Springfield Blues is holding out hope of a continued existence after additional investors came forward late last week.
I am being told that the St Louis Bandits have accepted the terms of an agreement to transfer their franchise to a new group.
New Mexico Mustangs owner Ken Dennis continues to explore all of his options but has committed to the league for next season.
A source that is very close to Alaska Avalanche owner Mark Lee is confident that the franchise will be transferred to a non-profit and remain in the Mat-Su Valley. It is unclear if that means that the team will remain in Palmer.
Sources within the Chicago Hitmen organization are telling me that owner Mark Hammersmith has reduced his asking price to a third of the $1.5 Million price tag he had in the fall. That is going to happen when the reality of the situation sets in.
What do you think?