Monday, June 26, 2017

Teemu Selanne and Others Get Call To Enter HHOF

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The Hockey Hall of Fame will welcome five players and two builders into its doors as part of the 2017 class.

Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Danielle Goyette were officially inducted as players on Monday afternoon, while former Canadian collegiate coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs were inducted under the builders category.

Overall it is an extremely impressive class of players. Selanne, Andreychuk and Recchi are all among the top-20 goal scorers in league history, while Goyette was a 10-time gold medalist for the Canadian women’s hockey team, including twice at the Olympics. Drake was the long-time coach of the University of Alberta Men’s ice hockey team, coaching the team to six University Cup championships in 28 years. He coached the Edmonton Oilers for one season in 1975-76 when they were still in the WHA. Overall his coaching career spanned 40 years at various levels of Canadian hockey.

Selanne’s induction seemed to be an obvious one, but for Andreychuk and Recchi it ends what were pretty lengthy waits to finally have their names called.

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Recchi, Selanne and Andreychuk were the only retired players in the top-30 of the NHL’s all-time points list to not already be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Eskimos Lose Sherritt For Season

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JC Sherritt, the Edmonton Eskimos middle linebacker and defensive captain, is finished for the season after rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left leg during the season-opening Edmonton win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday.

Sherritt, the CFL’s most outstanding defensive player in 2012, is in his seventh year with the team. He came up lame on a second-quarter play that didn’t see any contact with him.

It is rumoured the Eskimos may sign former Argos and Riders linebacker Greg Jones to replace him.

Riders Getting Ready To Show Mosaic Stadium To The World

The official unveiling of Mosaic Stadium is now less than a week away.

On Saturday night, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will show off their brand new 278 million dollar home to the nation when the green-and-white open up against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first official CFL game at the facility.

Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds can’t wait.

“We’re excited to show the country what we’ve done here and what the province has accomplished ,'” Reynolds told reporters Monday morning. “We think its the best building in Canada, it is world-class and it is iconic so to unveil it on Canada’s 150 birthday is quite exciting.

Reynolds adds the game will be a significant one in the team’s storied history with the opening of the stadium.

He says this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that it will be an amazing day for Rider Nation and its fans.

Game time Saturday night is 7 PM.

Something To "Mitch" About

GREAT DEBUT -- Well done CFL!  The first week of games were tremendous with the first three coming right down to the last play before we knew what the verdict was going to be. You can't really ask for anything better than that as a fan. Yes, those who bleed green-and-white wish the last play of their game would have been better, but Week 1 was full of excitement.   While the Toronto-Hamilton game was a one-sided affair, you can see Ricky Ray could be re-juvenated under Marc Trestman the way Anthony Calvillo was, and SJ Green was SJ Green which is bad news for secondaries and defensive co-ordinators around the league.

Say what you will about him, but Corey Chamblin had the Argos defence looking good as well,  Let us also remember it is also Week 1.  I think it is safe to say though that if we can get games like what we saw this weekend it will be good for the CFL as a whole.

KICKERS -  Rider Nation isn't the only one gnashing their teeth over the late game play of kickers. Safe to say, it wasn't a good week for those guys. Alphabet in Toronto had a kick blocked that went back for a touchdown, but that wasn't when the game was on the line.  We know what Crapigna did, and he had company with the usually-dependable Rene Paredes and BC's Ty Long.  Long's performance made me wonder if Wally was looking through his contacts to see if he still had Paul McCallum's number.  Rider radio analyst Luc Mullinder sent out a tweet Saturday night saying Week 1 kicking in the CFL has been ____________!  I'm guessing we know what some of the answers were.

CAN THAT STATEMENT BE REVIEWED? --  On Saturday night, TSN's Farhan Lalji came on saying he had spoken to Glen Johnson about two controversial calls that were not changed even though they probably should have been in the Riders-Montreal game and the Calgary-Ottawa game. The reason being they weren't "egregious" enough. Excuse me?!

Johnson told Lalji  |They want replay to be just about egregious calls that have been missed, they don’t want grey area. So if it takes two-and-a-half to three minutes to make sure the call gets exactly right, that means that call was too close to overturn."

He goes on to say "Those were not egregious calls. In the minute, minute-and-a-half we want to take to make these decisions in an effort to speed up replay, not slow down the pace of the game, those calls did not meet the standard for obvious, egregious mistakes and we’re just not going to overturn those types of calls. That’s going to be something people around the league are going to have to get used to.'”

I'll just leave that there and let you react accordingly.

WHO IS NUMBER TWO? -  Sportsnet is asking Blue Jays fans to rank the top 40 players to have worn the Toronto uniform. There is no doubt Robbie Alomar will be number one when all is said and done. Who is number two though?  Roy Halladay would get my vote.  If they're going to retire Mark Buehrle's # in Chicago, then perhaps it is Toronto's time to retire another number other than the 12 once worn by Alomar.  In thinking about it, and by no means is this gospel---the top 5 Jays in my mind would be Alomar, Halladay, George Bell, Joe Carter and Dave Stieb.

WHO WON THE NHL DRAFT - I don't know if one team won the draft, but one country did. When did Finnish hockey become so popular?  12 Finns went in the first two rounds. Compare that to the entire Quebec Junior Hockey League who only saw 14 players get drafted in total.  I like what Vegas did, I like what Columbus did in getting Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad and I liked St. Louis' draft. The kid they took at 20--Robert Thomas--was the guy I was hoping to see fall to Edmonton at 22.  I also like Calgary's acquistion of Travis Hamonic although it was a little steep when it came to the price they paid for him. Is the Battle of Alberta coming back. You bet it is!

ONE PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS - When the U of R Rams lost to the UBC Thunderbirds in a Canada West semi-final last season, it was my last game at the venerable Taylor Field. As the clock wound down in what was an upset, I started to realize it was my last game.  As I wandered from the 620 CKRM broadcast booth down to the press box, I knew what had to be done to say good-bye. I grabbed a Sharpie from U of R Sports Information Officer Braden Konschuh and went to the seat where I had watched so many games scrawling a simple message on the window where I had seen the highs and lows of Riders football...

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The message simply said "Thanks for the Memories Mosaic".  Imagine my surprise when I grabbed the "Field of Dreams" insert in Saturday's LP and found that scribbling inside the pages. Page 39 to be exact as Rob Vanstone had taken a picture of it to use in a story about the old girl. It is obviously the highlight of the booklet which needs to be looked at if you are a Rider fan. Thanks to Rob and whoever at the LP for immortalizing that tribute. 

That's all I got. Have a great week!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Two Pats Taken In NHL Draft

Saturday was a big day for two members of the Regina Pats as Jake Leschyshyn and Nick Henry heard their names get called at the NHL Draft in Chicago.

Leschyshyn was the first to go as he was taken with the last pick of the 2nd round, 62nd overall, by the Vegas Golden Knights.


With the first pick of the 4th round, the Colorado Avalanche selected Nick Henry as he went 84th overall.

Two former Pats also heard their name get called on Saturday.  Lane Zablocki was selected in the 3rd round by the Detroit Red Wings with the 79th pick while Jordan Hollett was taken in the 6th round with the 183rd pick by the Ottawa Senators.

 The Western Hockey League is proud to announce 33 WHL players have been selected in the 2017 NHL Draft, which concluded today at the United Center in Chicago.

The seven WHL players selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft represented the most prospects provided out of any league in the world during the opening round of the draft. The 33 WHL players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft represented the second-most prospects provided out of any league in the world.

The Canadian Hockey League (WHL, OHL, QMJHL), as a whole, provided 89 of the 217 draft picks this year. In addition, 14 of the 31 first-round selections developed this season in the Canadian Hockey League.

Here are the WHL'ers who were taken:

 Round One (7)
#2 – Nolan Patrick (C) – Philadelphia Flyers; Brandon Wheat Kings; Winnipeg, Man.
#6 – Cody Glass (C) – Vegas Golden Knights; Portland Winterhawks; Winnipeg, Man.
#9 – Michael Rasmussen (C) – Detroit Red Wings; Tri-City Americans; Surrey, B.C.
#14 – Cal Foote (D) – Tampa Bay Lightning; Kelowna Rockets; Engelwood, Col.
#16 – Juuso Valimaki (D) – Calgary Flames; Tri-City Americans; Nokia, Finland
#22 – Kailer Yamamoto (RW) – Edmonton Oilers; Spokane Chiefs; Spokane, Wash.
#29 – Henri Jokiharju (D) – Chicago Blackhawks; Portland Winterhawks; Oulu, Finland

Round Two (5)
#33 – Kole Lind (RW) – Vancouver Canucks; Kelowna Rockets; Shaunavon, Sask.
#40 – Aleksi Heponiemi (C) – Florida Panthers; Swift Current Broncos; Tampere, Finland
#41 – Jaret Anderson-Dolan (C) – Los Angeles Kings; Spokane Chiefs; Calgary, Alta.
#56 – Josh Brook (D) – Montreal Canadiens; Moose Jaw Warriors; Roblin, Man.
#62 – Jake Leschyshyn (C) – Vegas Golden Knights; Regina Pats; Grasswood, Sask.

Round Three (6)
#67 – Morgan Geekie (C) – Carolina Hurricanes; Tri-City Americans; Strathclair, Man.
#68 – Scott Walford (D) – Montreal Canadiens; Victoria Royals; Coquitlam, B.C.
#73 – Stelio Mattheos (RW) – Carolina Hurricanes; Brandon Wheat Kings; Winnipeg, Man.
#78 – Stuart Skinner (G) – Edmonton Oilers; Lethbridge Hurricanes; Edmonton, Alta.
#79 – Lane Zablocki (RW) – Detroit Red Wings; Red Deer Rebels; Wetaskain, Alta.
#87 – Cale Fleury (D) – Montreal Canadiens; Kootenay ICE; Calgary, Alta.

Round Four (5)
#94 – Nick Henry (RW) – Colorado Avalanche; Regina Pats; Portage la Prairie, Man.
#97 – Mason Shaw (C) – Minnesota Wild; Medicine Hat Tigers; Wainwright, Alta.
#98 – Nikita Popugaev (LW) – New Jersey Devils; Prince George Cougars; Moscow, Russia
#110 – Ian Scott (G) – Toronto Maple Leafs; Prince Albert Raiders; Calgary, Alta.
#122 – Kyle Olson (RW) – Anaheim Ducks; Tri-City Americans; Calgary, Alta.

Round Five (3)
#128 – Tyler Steenbergen (C) – Arizona Coyotes; Swift Current Broncos; Sylan Lake, Alta.
#140 – Zach Fischer (RW) – Calgary Flames; Medicine Hat Tigers; Lloydminster, Alta.
#149 – Jarret Tyszka (D) – Montreal Canadiens; Seattle Thunderbirds; Langley, B.C.

Round Six (4)
#159 – Jacob McGrew (RW) – San Jose Sharks; Spokane Chiefs; Orange, Calif.
#163 – Brett Davis (RW) – Dallas Stars; Kootenay ICE; Oakbank, Man.
#166 – Brendan De Jong (D) – Carolina Hurricanes; Portland Winterhawks; Victoria, B.C.
#183 – Jordan Hollett (G) – Ottawa Senators; Medicine Hat Tigers; Port Moody, B.C.

Round Seven (3)
#194 – Dylan Ferguson (G) – Dallas Stars; Kamloops Blazers; Lantzville, B.C.
#198 – Skyler Mckenzie (LW) – Winnipeg Jets; Portland Winterhawks; Sherwood Park, Alta.
#204 – Daniel Bukac (D) – Boston Bruins; Brandon Wheat Kings; Most, Czech Republic

***Photos Courtesy Keith Hershmiller

This And That---the Saturday Edition

It's one day late due to the Riders game, but welcome to Saturday. Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--What a shot to the onions Thursday's CFL opener provided to Rider Nation. Hey, its not like other games against Montreal have come down to a field goal that hasn't turned out well for you right? SIGHHHH!  What could have been an optimistic week for Canada's team and its crazed fanbase turned out being another knife-throwing affair in the waning hours of Thursday night and Friday.

All Tyler Crapigna had to do was kick the game-winning 45 yard field goal and the Riders would have been 1-0 and there would have been a good feeling surrounding the team, but nope!  No wind and straight down the middle. He has done that before and he will do it again, but on this night it wasn't going to happen.

Crapigna has made game winning kicks for the team before, and he will again.  On this night, it wasn't to be though which is too bad because the Riders outplayed the Alouettes, but they didn't get the two points.  You can complain about Chris Jones bringing in Brandon Bridge and the clock management all you want as well as other things, but at the end of the day, a play that should have been made wasn't made.  Players will tell you one play does not make a game and they are right, but on this night the one play that needed to be made wasn't so we move on to Winnipeg and hope the first official CFL game at Mosaic Stadium does not go down in the history books as a win for the Bombers.

Crapigna isn't alone as we found out Friday night in a Grey Cup rematch. Rene Paredes had the game on his foot and he failed to come through as well as Calgary and Ottawa played to a tie.  It brought up my problem with CFL overtime which is teams need to start possession at the 45 yard line or 55 yard line.  After Calgary intercepted an Ottawa pass, all they had to do was run two simple plays and kick a field goal.  By putting the ball at the 45 or 55, you make them have to earn at least a first down before having a reasonable shot at a field goal.  It's too easy to get points from the 35.

As for video review, TSN's Chris Cuthbert put it the best after another highly questionable call by the command centre when he put "CFL Video Review needs to be reviewed" on his Twitter account, Yes it does Chris, yes it does.   Hey, at least the first two games of the season have gone right down to the last play though right?

 --A question for the CFL from the warped mind of Twitter follower "Jock Cartier".  With no commissioner, whose signature is on the CFL football this year?

--Jordan Eberle is a New York Islander. A fickle fan base turned on Eberle because they didn't want to remember what he had done over a seven year time, but what he did over a two month period.  Why did Eberle become the whipping boy in the playoffs when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had just as bad a playoff?  In a bad year, Ebs still scored 20 but in the end it didn't matter as he was sent away for Ryan Strome.  Yes, I would have liked to seen more, but the trade allowed for the return of Kris Russell and perhaps another piece in either a trade or free agency.  You might have not been able to get the same return for RNH as you did for Eberle, but it will be tougher to fill Jordan's skates and his offensive production.  He'll score 25-30 if not more playing alongside John Tavares in a conference that isn't as tough.

--I just want to make sure I have this right. The Arizona Coyotes went to the NHL draft and they were there without A) a head coach B) no president of hockey operations C) no #1 goalie unless you want to give that to Antti Raanta whom they traded for along with Derek Stepan to the Rangers for the  #7 pick and  D) no captain.  What a hot mess!  Speaking of hot messes, how about the Vancouver Canucks who tweeted out just hours before the draft that they will be re-tooling their scouting staff after the draft and free agency.  ?????  Get excited Vancouver!!  Congratulations as Trevor Linden and Jim Benning have taken over for Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe as biggest front office dunces that used to be former players.

--Was the torch officially passed from Sidney Crosby to Connor McDavid as the face of the NHL Wednesday night when  the Oilers captain won the NHL's MVP award?  I don't know if you can really do that until McDavid has the Stanley Cup in his possession whenever that may be especially if Pittsburgh continues to be a strong contender for hockey's holy grail.  I will ask this though.  At the NHL Awards this week, players were asked if you could start a team today what player would you start with and the majority answered McDavid. Connor voted for Carey Price for what its worth. The reason players are voting for McDavid is because he is much younger.  It begs the question that with the likes of Matthews, Laine, Marner and other young guns making their name known, where would you put Sid if starting a team from scratch with everybody available.  I would have to think he would be no lower than 3, Would you put Matthews ahead of him?

--How many people does it take to announce your first round draft pick?

--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 23, 2017

7 WHL'ers Taken In First Round of NHL Draft

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The Western Hockey League is proud to announce seven WHL players have been selected during the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center in Chicago Friday night.

WHL players selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft included Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings (second overall, Philadelphia Flyers), Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks (sixth overall, Vegas Golden Knights), Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans (ninth overall, Detroit Red Wings), Cal Foote of the Kelowna Rockets (14th overall, Tampa Bay Lightning), Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans (16th overall, Calgary Flames), Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs (22nd overall, Edmonton Oilers) and Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks (29th overall, Chicago Blackhawks).

The NHL Draft resumes Saturday morning with the second round beginning at 8 a.m. MT on Sportsnet.

In total, 14 of the 31 selections made Friday developed in the Canadian Hockey League this season. Through 51 WHL seasons, a total of 1,974 WHL players have been selected in the NHL Draft.

2017 NHL Draft – WHL Players
Overall – Player (Pos.) – NHL Team; WHL Team; Hometown            

Round One
#2 – Nolan Patrick (C) – Philadelphia Flyers; Brandon Wheat Kings; Winnipeg, Man.
#6 – Cody Glass (C) – Vegas Golden Knights; Portland Winterhawks; Winnipeg, Man.
#9 – Michael Rasmussen (C) – Detroit Red Wings; Tri-City Americans; Surrey, B.C.
#14 – Cal Foote (D) – Tampa Bay Lightning; Kelowna Rockets; Engelwood, Col.
#16 – Juuso Valimaki (D) – Calgary Flames; Tri-City Americans; Nokia, Finland
#22 – Kailer Yamamoto (RW) – Edmonton Oilers; Spokane Chiefs; Spokane, Wash.
#29 – Henri Jokiharju (D) – Chicago Blackhawks; Portland Winterhawks; Oulu, Finland