Bring on "Moose Mania"
The Manitoba Moose matchup on Thursday against the Chicago Wolves, the Atlanta Thrashers affiliate and top remaining seed in the AHL playoffs. Despite the Wolves' impressive regular season record, there's some debate over who is the favoured team in the series.
Lee Goren, Josh Green and Jeff Hereema, three players who have never suited up for the Moose parent club in Vancouver, are leading the way for Manitoba in scoring. All three are also 25 or older and have spent the majority of their careers as minor leaguers (Green has 232 games NHL experience).
One of the other stars for the Moose has been their goaltender, although it hasn't been upstart Alex Auld. No, 37-year-old Wade Flaherty has carried the load in goal, posting some of the best netminding totals in the AHL. Flaherty, whom the Canucks aquired to steady Auld's transition to the starting position, just may have extended his pro hockey career this season. The next 'Backup' Bob Essensa, perhaps?
My money's still on the Moose, if only because I think this is as close as I'll get to cheering for the Canucks this year.