Saturday nights are one in which I will buy one mammoth Pro-line ticket. An upset, a couple of ties…a big payoff if it ever comes through. The big word being “if”. I was so close last night. Upon leaving the Brandt Centre following the Pats game, I heard Rod Pedersen reading out the NHL scores on the Pats post game show and said to myself I have two of the three ties I picked and New Jersey. I knew the Sharks and Kings were still playing so I listened on XM Radio to that game while on the drive home and it remained 1-all all the way home which was good as I needed the tie. I walked in and looked at my ticket and remembered Rod telling me Dallas had beaten Minnesota. All I needed was the Sharks and Kings to finish tied which they did and for the Oilers to beat Colorado. Paul Stastny scored on the power play early in that 3rd to make it 2-1 Colorado but Sheldon Souray tied it with around 5 minutes to go. The game went to overtime---I needed Edmonton to win. Alas, my 34 hundred dollar payout went up in smoke as Marek Svatos scored to give Colorado the win and prevent me from walking into the Regina office of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation and walking out with a big cheque with my name on it. SIGGHHHHHH!!!!! The biggest Pro-Line I have ever won is 770 bucks which was done a long time ago. DAMN!!! When you pick the three ties, you would think destiny would be with you….I guess not!!
The Pats season came to an end with a loss as they were beaten 4-2 by the Broncos. Regina ends the year with a miserable record of 27-39-1-5. Quite the turnaround from the team that won the Eastern Division pennant last year with a lot of the same guys. Its only the 3rd time in the Parker era the team has not made the playoffs and as CTV’s Lee Jones pointed out it’s the first time since the Warriors started in Moose Jaw that both have missed the playoffs. Head coach Dale Derkatch saying after the game that captain Victor Bartley is off to play with Boston’s AHL team in Providence and Jordan Eberle will head to Springfield to play with Edmonton’s AHL team. Are the Kings that disgruntled with Colton Teubert that they haven’t told him to report to their AHL team or is that coming. It will be an interesting and long off-season for the Pats but I can assure you of this and that is Dale Derkatch will not be the same type of coach he was this year. He learned some valuable lessons and will be much, much different. I think he also learned some things about some players who can return but may not because of the effort given over the past few weeks. I don’t think there will be a lot of turnover but some of the possible returnees will not be back wearing a Regina uniform next year. As for that 8th and final playoff spot in the East, Prince Albert lost 5-4 to Saskatoon but Edmonton lost 3-2 in Red Deer. It means the Oil Kings must get one point in their final game of the year at home against the Rebels tomorrow to advance to the playoffs. A loss in regulation means the Raiders and Oil Kings would have a playoff game Tuesday with the winner getting the Calgary Hitmen in the first round. By the way, I was told at the Pats game that SHAW will do the Lethbridge-Saskatoon series. I think that will be a great matchup and it would not surprise me one bit if the Hurricanes—the defending Eastern Conference champs --who have three NHL first rounders in their lineup—upset the Blades. We will see. By the way, the last Pats game of the year was the first one ever for my 5 year old daughter Annika. Proudly wearing a Pats jersey that used to belong to her older sister, she sat with my mother in law just below me in the press box. Daddy was concerned an errant puck would come over the boards and ruin many evenings but she seemed to really enjoy herself. Instead of going with the mother in law next time, she might have to come with Daddy. Now if I could just get her to watch the Riders. For one reason or another, she’s not crazy about Mosaic Stadium. She did manage to watch about 10 minutes of practice with me last year. She’s learning!!!!!!
The Cougar mens hockey team couldn't complete an upset of Alberta--at least not yet. After surprising the heavily favoured Golden Bears in Game 1 of their best of 3 series, the Bears took Game 2 4-1. Game 3 is in Edmonton this afternoon. The winner plays the U of S.
Speaking of upsets, we saw one at the Brier as Jeff Stoughton and his Manitoba rink advanced to tonight’s final against Kevin Martin. Stoughton beating Glenn Howard 8-6 in the semi-final. Stoughton had advanced to that semi earlier in the day when he made a tremendous raise double with his last shot to score 2 and beat Brad Gushue of Newfoundland. Still with the Brier, there is a lot of talk about changing things up. I showed you a story from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun a few days ago and now this from Bob Weeks of the Globe and Mail…….
I would still rather see a curling game be 10 ends instead of 8 but I’d rather have an eight end game than see a Brier without a Saskatchewan in it. I’d also like to see Team Canada at the Brier instead of Northern Ontario. No matter what, it looks like some changes are coming.
Its Selection Sunday. The field for the NCAA mens basketball tournament is released later today, Start filling out those brackets!!! This event is 2nd only to the World Juniors to me when it comes to must-watch TV. The spirit, emotion and drama of March Madness is compelling and when a tiny school knocks off a heavyweight--it is pure bedlam!