The Final Home Game in Manitoba Moose History?

Yesterday was not a good day for the Vancouver Canucks as an organization.  The Canucks laid an absolute egg in front of a sold-out Rogers Arena, and luckily I can say that I didn't watch one minute of it as I had to attend two functions last night.  The series may say 3-2 Canucks, but as Iain MacIntyre brilliantly posted on Twitter last night (@imacVanSun), it is the "First time in a while I remember a team trailing a series and facing elimination while up 3-2."  Thank goodness that there is a two-day break before Game 6 on Sunday, because this team needs to desperately fix what is broken in their game.

But I mentioned that it was not a good day for the organization, which unfortunately applies to the farm team as well.  The Manitoba Moose also lost an important home game last night, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters in Game 4.  They now trail the series 3-1 after losing two straight at home, and Game 5 goes tonight once again at the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg.  The question I have though is could tonights game be the final time that the Moose get to play in this arena while calling Manitoba home? 

 

More news came out of the Arizona desert yesterday, as the City of Glendale and the Goldwater Institute were joined by surprise guest Matthew Hulsizer in a meeting to discuss the potential sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Hulsizer, and it didn't go very well.  This lead to the TSN Jets Meter going up 8 spots yesterday, and the return of NHL hockey to the River City keeps looking more and more likely every single day.  Wouldn't it be ironic if the Detroit Red Wings did to the Phoenix Coyotes what they did to the Winnipeg Jets 15 years ago?  The Wings were the team that eliminated the Jets in 1996 before they relocated to Phoenix, and Detroit could once again be responsible for dispatching this franchise from the playoffs prior to them moving.  Who knew that Nicklas Lidstrom had so much control over where Shane Doan played hockey?

The return of an NHL franchise would obviously affect the Moose, as it is a virtual certainty that the AHL franchise would be on the outs here in Winnipeg and would need to be relocated somewhere else.  But where would they go?  An original thought was for the Moose to pack up their bags and head to the BC capital on Vancouver Island, but apparently the WHL beat them to the punch and relocated the Chilliwack Bruins to Victoria first.  Other options are obviously out there, as AHL commissioner Dave Andrews has admitted to having a plan B should the Moose relocate, and I'm sure that the Canucks wouldn't mind having them closer to the West Coast.

But before any of this happens, the Moose still have some hockey left to play with Manitoba stitched on their jerseys.  Game 5 goes tonight at the MTS Centre (8:30 ET/5:30 PT), and the Moose will be looking to send this series back to Lake Erie.  The series has been very close, and the fact that the Moose are down 3-1 doesn't tell the whole story.  Game 4 was a 4-3 game late in the 3rd before the Monsters scored 2 empty netters, and the Moose outshot the visitors 40-19 in their 2-1 defeat on Tuesday in Game 3.  

Eddie Lack started Game 1 but was pulled and replaced by Tyler Weiman, who then started Games 2, 3 and 4.  However, Weiman was pulled last night and replaced by Lack, and it looks like Eddie Lack will get the start tonight (as per @cjobmunz).  Rick Rypien sat out Game 4 with a lower body injury but took the morning skate today and is a game-time decision.  Also, Aaron Volpatti was suspended for two games for a charging major he was assessed last night, so his season could be over unless Manitoba can see a Game 7.  One positive note has been the play of Marco Rosa, as he is the offensive leader in this series so far with 7 points in the 4 games (3G & 4A).

I will be at the game cheering on the Moose tonight, so follow me on Twitter (@arby_18) for live updates from the rink.  Hopefully the Moose can extend the series, but with games 6 and 7 both in Lake Erie and their backs against the wall, tonight could potentially be the final home game ever for the Manitoba Moose.  And if it is, at least I can say I was there!  Go Moose!

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