Hello one, hello all. Welcome to the first installment of "The Blair Necessities". Its a chance to weigh in on whats happening in the wide world of sports with a focus on the "local" scene in what is arguably the best sports city in Canada--that of course being Regina. Those that know me know I am a big supporter of the local teams and yes for reasons that I won't get into, there were others that frowned upon that saying "nobody cares". Yeah OK!!! Those that checked out my previous blog at my previous employer will know I had many items entitled "Random Thoughts" and that will continue as will a daily look at the big stories and my thoughts on them and various other issues happening. The 26 hour a day, 8 day a week international sports ticker is running again after being out of order since the evening of January 13. Here we go.
A lot of things have happened since January 13. The biggest story of course is the sexual assault charge facing Eric Tillman. A lot of people have asked me about the allegations surrounding the Riders GM and at this time that is all it is is an allegation. Knowing Eric Tillman and having had several long chats with him during his time in Regina, I find this story very hard to believe and I do think he will be exonerated. I just hope the Rider Nation--some who have already condemned him--can let the matter move on if that should happen.
Super Bowl 43 was one of the best ever but I still think Super Bowl 42 was better just because of A)the storyline with the Giants ending New England's perfection streak and B)I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers and it was that way long before the atrocity that was Super Bowl 40. That being said, one must give Pittsburgh their due especially quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. When the Cardinals scored to take the lead I thought they left too much time on the clock and they did. Roethlisberger will never be confused for the greats like Montana or Aikman but he has proven that he can run the two minute offence to perfection. He did it several times this year and on the game's biggest stage he did it again.
A-Rod has become A-Roid. The story broke on Saturday that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003 while a member of the Texas Rangers. Should this surprise me---no!!! Rodriguez is/was the poster boy for major league baseball and should one day in a few years become baseball's home run king. He was supposed to be the guy who saved the sport but some had to dig and dig and dig to make sure he is no better than guys like Bonds, McGwire and Clemens. This story won't be going away anytime soon.
One story I'm already sick of is that of Olympian Michael Phelps and the now infamous photo of him and a bong. Yes Michael Phelps is someone that today's youth should be looking up to because of his performance in Beijing but its marijuana. Its something many of us (not me though) have done and he is the latest to be discovered. Who cares!!!! Many are trying to make a bigger deal of this saying Phelps is getting a free pass for a variety of reasons. I say he's not getting a free pass and yes there should be some criticism but marijuana is different than cocaine, heroin..etc. etc in my books.
The big question in Regina right now in the hockey community is what is wrong with the Regina Pats. I think my colour man on Access 7 broadcasts--Kelly Remple--said it the best going into our game Friday against Edmonton. He said if Dale Derkatch and Brent Parker can't put a finger on it how are we supposed to. This team is lacking confidence big-time and they are simply afraid to make a mistake every time they step on the ice. Having that approach is a recipe for making mistakes. I asked Parker if this team needs a good old fashioned blowout or a hard fought one goal victory and he couldn't answer the question. Losses to the Oil Kings and the Raiders this weekend hurt the team's playoff chances but I still think they can get in. If they finish 8th, Calgary will wipe the ice with them(and with other teams for that matter) but if they were to finish 7th and play Saskatoon something tells me the series would be a lot tougher for the Blades than many think it would be. Time will tell!!!
Congratulations to Joel Jordison. His rink consisting of himself, Scott Bitz, Aaron Schmidt and Dean Hicke ended the stranglehold Pat Simmons had on the provincial mens curling championship by beating Simmons Sunday in Meadow Lake. The 6-4 win ends a four year reign Simmons had as provincial mens champ. Jordison now heads to the Brier in Calgary. Good luck Joel!!! I don't think anyone needs to remind you its been a long time since a Saskatchewan rink won the Brier. One other curling note.......Kaitlyn Lawes of Manitoba and Brett Gallant of Prince Edward Island won the Canadian junior titles in Salmon Arm BC on Sunday. For Lawes its the second year in a row she has won the title.
I'm not big on Kobe Bryant but I have to hand it to him and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers. They went into Boston Friday and beat the Celtics and then walked into Cleveland Sunday and beat Lebron James and the Cavaliers. Its the first time Cleveland had lost on their home floor this year. I still think Lebron is better than Kobe and I hope someone like San Antonio, Denver or Portland can beat them but I think the Lakers are headed back to the NBA finals.
Tough break for James Hillis and the U of R Cougar mens basketball team on the weekend. Brandon beat Regina Saturday night when some guy from the Bobcats(who I'm guessing is another homegrown product from the Manitoba city) hit a three pointer at the end of the game to give them a 69-68 win and first in GPAC. It means the Cougars will once again have to try and win the division title by having to go to Brandon. Just out of curiousity when was the last time the GPAC final didn't involve the Bobcats and was played in Brandon.
The BC Lions won't have Jason Clermont catching passes for them in 2009 but they will have Paris Jackson. The team signing him Sunday to a contract that keeps him in "The Coov" until the 2011 season. I don't know what the Lions will look like in 2009 having lost guys like Clermont and Stefan Logan with the chance of losing Rob Murphy and Jason Jimenez in free agency but Wally has a gameplan that will keep them very competitive in the West. By the way, I am really looking forward to the 2009 CFL season. I think the West will be even more competitive than its been in recent years and thats saying something. As we approach free agency there isn't a lot separating the Stamps from the Lions, Eskimos or the Riders.
The NFC beat the AFC 30-21 in the Pro Bowl meaning the NFL season is now officially over. Of course it was over last weekend when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl but leagues continue to persist with all-star games. This game wasn't even sold out which should tell you something. I don't know about you but all-star games to me are just boring now. The best one is the baseball game because its some semblance of a game and not a pathetic display of what the sport should be like.
The Olympic mens hockey menu is now set. Norway and Germany becoming the last teams to qualify for Vancouver on Sunday by winning qualifying games. I think its safe to say both teams will be used as fodder by the Canadians, Americans, Russians etc. etc. etc. Hard to believe the 2010 games are just over a year away.
Thats all I got for now. More coming soon. I'm switching to glide. Later!!!