A playoff push?
It already is the playoffs, says Edmonton Oil Kings GM Bob Green.
"We've got to be aware that they are going to come after us hard," Green said yesterday on the eve of a home-and-home series against the Red Deer Rebels.
The games, which close out the WHL's regular season schedule, go tonight in Red Deer (7:30, Team 1260) and tomorrow (2 p.m. at Rexall Place), offically on the schedule as the regular-season finales.
"We've got to be prepared," added Green. "As far as we're concerned, we're in the playoffs right now."
While the Rebels are the team they are playing on the ice, the team the Oil Kings are battling is the Prince Albert Raiders.
With Prince Albert defeating Saskatoon 5-4 in a shootout last night, the Kings need a win and a tie to secure the playoff spot.
That would ensure at least a tie and a one-game showdown on Monday in Prince Albert if the Raiders win both halves of their home-and-home set with the Blades.
A key difference is that P.A. all but has to win and the Blades are a deep squad with something to play for.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes enter three points behind them, close enough to potentially slip past Saskatoon for second place in the East.
Playing the 11th-place Rebels should be advantage Oil Kings. On paper, at least.
"Everybody plays hard in this league and there's never a night off," Green said yesterday.
"Red Deer's got some good young players and they're going to want to be the spoiler."
ICE CHIPS: After Oil Kings defenceman Kieran Friesen injured his knee and winger Tomas Vincour reinjured his shoulder Wednesday, expect Clayton Cumiskey to move back to a point position against Red Deer and both Logan Proulx and Robin Soudek to draw in up front.