Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hard Not To Like The Hawks

The Chicago Blackhawks of today have been compared to the Oilers of the 80's. Just a bunch of young guns going out there and having fun with no deficit being too big. This group just keeps coming at you and coming at you and coming at you and they just about stole Game 1 of their 2nd round series against Vancouver.
The Hawks looked a little tentative in Game 1 against the Canucks and they went into the 3rd down 3-0. Jim Hughson reminded everyone that Calgary had a three goal lead on Chicago during one of the games in the first round and that the Hawks roared back. I don't know if he knew something or if he said it in hopes of keeping people tuned in, but the Hawks did roar back. An early Patrick Kane goal gave some momentum, another Kane goal midway through the period gave them hope and a Dave Bolland goal with five minutes left gave them a new life. Vancouver survived the rally to win it as Sami Salo rapped home a rebound on a 3 on 1 break with just over a minute to play. An empty netter made it 5-3 as the Canucks escape with one. I know in a seven game series you can hardly take a Game 1 incident and say it turned the tide but had Chicago won this one, I say they win the series and they win it going away. No matter what, they got a lot of confidence from that final 20 minutes and that means we should have one helluva matchup between these two teams. Chicago is not going to win the Cup this year(at least I don't think they will) but if they can keep their core group together, they will win one very soon---maybe as soon as next year.

By the way, it once again has happened. Now that Vancouver is the lone Canadian team left, they are being referred to as Canada's team thus everyone is being told to adopt the Canucks as their team. You have no idea how much I hate this. The Blackhawks have more Canadians on their roster than the Canucks have. If I am going to cheer openly for a team I will cheer for the team that has the most Canadians on it. Actually I will continue to watch and I won't openly cheer for any squad because the squad I cheer for each winter is done. The whole "Canada's team" thing just makes me want to puke. If your team is out and you want to root for the Canucks that is fine. If your team is out and you want to root for Chicago or Detroit or Anaheim that is fine as well but don't tell me that I have to cheer for a Canadian team because I don't. I will cheer for Canada but I won't cheer for a team just because they are located in a Canadian city.
WHL teams have stacked their rosters as the bantam draft has come to an end. The Pats taking 11 players--seven of them from Saskatchewan and seven of them being defencemen. Not all will play for the big club but the team has had a lot of success over the past few years so get ready to possibly hear names like Chandler Stephenson, Taylor Balog, Garrett Lockridge and Darren Robinson in future years. Saskatchewan proved to be a popular place in the first two rounds of the draft as 12 of the first 44 players taken come from here including three of the first 10. That tells you there are a lot of people out there doing their job in helping these kids develop.

Still with the Pats, they made a minor deal with Tri-Cities. Neal Prokop--who came here in the trade that sent Jeff Bosch to Moose Jaw--goes to the Americans for 17 year forward Jason Gardiner. He split his time between Tri-Cities and Selkirk of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Just a reminder the league final begins tonight as Calgary looks for its 13th straight win of the playoffs when they take on the Kelowna Rockets. The winner heads to the Memorial Cup in Rimouski, Quebec where they will join the host Oceanic. Windsor and Brampton are playing in the Ontario League final while Shawnigan is playing Drummondville in the Quebec final.
Dave Dickenson will officially retire today and join the Stampeders as an assistant coach. There have been many great quarterbacks in the history of the CFL and Dickenson has to rank right up there as far as I'm concerned. He has to rank up there with guys like Dunigan, Brock and yes Kent Austin.
It looks like the NFL is really going to stretch out its draft because of its massive popularity. Word is the league will now stretch the draft out over three days with the first two coming in prime-time. Round 1 would go Thursday, round 2 and 3 would happen Friday with the final four rounds happening Saturday. After two rounds my interest in the NFL draft starts to wane somewhat. I look to see who the Seahawks take and then I move on. I think the league is making a mistake with this move but NFL fans clamour for this stuff. I'm interested to see what type of numbers the CFL draft will get on TSN this weekend. Its the first time the league has televised its draft. It won't have the glitz and glamour of the NFL draft but if its anything like last year's webcast, it will be a good production.
Jose Canseco used his muscles to take pitchers deep and trade blows with Danny Bonaduce.
Now the former MVP will step onto the mat and try MMA.
In his latest attempt to cash in on his flagging post-baseball career, Canseco is set to make his mixed martial arts debut on May 26 in Japan. The former Oakland A's slugger and tell-all author is fighting South Korean Hong Man Choi on the Dream 9 card in Yokohama Arena.
Choi is a 7-foot-2, 330-pound super heavyweight and has a 1-2 record in MMA.
"I have no idea if I can do it," Canseco said Thursday night. "It's a tough sport."
I've maybe seen a collective 10-15 minutes of the first six games but I may have to watch Game 7 of the NBA first round matchup between the defending champion Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. The first six games have all been classics and the 6th game went to triple overtime before being decided Thursday night with the Bulls staying alive.

It must be spring!!! I went to Douglas Park to watch my daughter play softball and it didn't take long for the allergies to kick in. I have been sneezing all night with the runny nose and you know the rest. GRRRRRREAT!!!!!!!
Has Brett Favre signed with the Vikings yet? He put out a release saying " At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football." That's right Brett, at this time you have no interest but around July 1 that itch will return right? Right! Get ready for it.
Why is it just about every channel in the 500 channel universe that we have can give us The Simpsons, Family Guy, Friends, Seinfeld etc. etc. etc but no one will put on Night Court! I loved that show. Dan Fielding is one of the best characters to ever grace a TV screen. Having WKRP in Cincinnati on every night would be great as well.

WHL/WJHC Ex Game at Mosaic Stadium????

I told you earlier this week about a rumour that a WHL game could be played outside at Mosaic Stadium. I am hearing today--and again this is just a rumour that not only would there be one outdoor game at the stadium but two. I have heard the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats would play one game with the second game being an exhibition game between Team Canada and Sweden just days before the start of the tournament. If this comes to fruition, I am all for it!!! Again I stress this is just a rumour.

What Did We Learn?? What's Next!!

The first round is over and I think its safe to say that it was a pretty entertaining first round and a controversial one as well when it comes to on-ice discipline that was handed out. Here's what I learned after Round 1.
--Chris Osgood silenced his detractors!
--Cam Ward may be one of the top five goalies in the league and he has done it in a very silent yet efficient way.
--The Chicago Blackhawks are a very entertaining team to watch night in, night out.
--It doesn't matter what the Sharks do in the regular season.
--Don't leave your TV if its a one goal game and Carolina is playing.
--Brent Seabrook may win a Norris Trophy before his days are done.
--Alexandre Ovechkin needs to realize that other guys can help win a game and not just you alone.
--St. Louis and Columbus were just happy to be there but will be back.
--The decision to insert Simeon Varlamov in goal was pure genius from Bruce Boudreau.
--The Ducks are an eight seed but they are still a very good hockey team with guys like Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Pronger and Niedermayer.
--Vancouver doesn't have that one go to guy but they have six or seven guys that can get it done. That could be very beneficial down the road.
So now we go to Round 2.
Everyone is talking about the Capitals-Penguins series and for good reason. Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Green, Semin, Gonchar, Fleury etc. etc. etc. This is a star-studded series and its one the NHL must love although I'm sure they would rather have it be the conference final. I'm going to take Washington here because they got their game going after taking a while to get going. I also think the Caps d can control Sid and Geno. If Ovechkin realizes that he doesn't have to do it all by himself, Washington wins...I'll take them in 7.
When I think of Carolina and Boston, I think of Tim Thomas and Cam Ward. Ward gets the edge but Boston has too many weapons offensively don't they. Kessel, Wheeler, Recchi, Chara, Bergeron etc. etc. I don't think Carolina can match their depth. Then again, I didn't think they could match the Devils depth. Im going to say Boston in a series that will feature multiple overtimes and may be the best matchup of the 2nd round.
Throw the seeding out the window in the Anaheim-Detroit series. Both teams have many of the same guys on it that played in the conference final two years ago when the Ducks beat the Wings. This will be a great series but in the end I think Detroit wins out. Wings in 6.
Chicago-Vancouver will be a dandy. The Sedins will see a lot of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith while Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa will see a lot of Toews and Kane. This series could come down to goaltending and if that's the case, you gotta take Vancouver.
Drop the puck!!!

The Top 5

The WHL bantam draft has started. The top 5 are as follows

1. Portland-Derrick Pouliot D-Weyburn
2. Moose Jaw-Morgan Reilly D-West Vancouver BC (playing at Notre Dame)
3. Edmonton(gets pick from Chilliwack)-Griffin Reinhart D-West Vancouver BC (Paul Reinhart's boy)
4. Red Deer-Matt Dumba D-Calgary
5. Regina-Chandler Stephenson-F-Saskatoon. The 5 foot 9, 155 pound Stephenson is compared to Doug Gilmour. He had 110 points(49 G-61A) in 46 games with the bantam Saskatoon Generals. His plan is to play for the Saskatoon Contacts next year.

The Raiders took Trochu, Alberta centre Mike Winther with their first pick 6th overall. The Broncos made center Evan Richardson from Nanaimo the 15th selection and the Blades take center Ryan Olsen from Delta BC.

You can follow the proceedings by going to

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Developing The Future

WHL brass are in Edmonton for the league's bantam draft. It goes Thursday (815 AM start)with three of the Saskatchewan teams having high picks. The Portland Winter Hawks will have the first pick followed by Moose Jaw, Chilliwack, Red Deer, Regina and Prince Albert. Previous number one picks over the past few years include Jay Bouwmeester, Braydon Coburn, Jared Cowen and Colten Teubert.
The Warriors have stated they would like a defenceman and there are several good ones out there including Weyburn's Derrick Pouliot and Notre Dame's Morgan Reilly. The Pats have indicated they wouldn't mind grabbing a forward with their first round pick. Weyburn's Taylor Balog is considered a high pick by scouts but the team may look to Alberta and grab Mike Winther if he is still there at number 5. Winther has been playing with Airdrie. The names won't mean anything now but look back to the 2004 draft and some first round picks were Luke Schenn and WHL player of the year Brett Sonne. Look back at the 2003 draft and the first pick overall was Jonathan Toews. He elected to go to North Dakota though instead of Tri-Cities. Needless to say, the road to NHL stardom begins for some today.
I wonder what Don Cherry thinks about the three nominees for the Hart Trophy. Grapes must be rolling over in his gaudy sportsjackets over the fact three Russians are up for the MVP. No surprise to see Malkin and Ovechkin in there but I am surprised to see Pavel Datsyuk in the final three. Nothing against the Detroit winger but I thought Zach Parise would be there. I wonder if Anaheim had done better in the regular season if Ryan Getzlaf would have gotten any consideration. I heard I believe it was Scott Laughlin from XM Radio saying the other day that he believes Getzlaf would get Crosby like attention if he played in the East and that he might be a better all around player. I wouldn't argue that.
The swine flu is dominating the headlines and for good reason. I'm not too scared of it at this time but one has to wonder what is going to happen as it seems to be getting worse and not better. I can't see people wearing masks when they go out and about in Saskatchewan but you just never know.
A Canadian sports broadcasting legend has passed on. Ted Reynolds is probably best known for his work with CBC covering Olympic swimming. He also did the first play by play games of Vancouver Canuck contests for Hockey Night in Canada. Reynolds was 83.
Everyone is starting to pick up on the Brett Favre story. Many, many people think the quarterback is ready to come back again after he got his release from the Jets. The fact the Jets no longer owe Green Bay anything because of this move and the fact Favre never really seems to keep his promise of retirement has a lot thinking he could be wearing Vikings purple. He has sent out a statement saying he is staying retired but I'm not buying that and won't be until training camp starts. Who's kidding who, the Vikings aren't really set at quarterback with Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson and Brett really wanted to play there last year before getting traded to the Jets. I can't imagine what it would be like at Lambeau Field if the Vikings came in there with Brett Favre running the show for the Packers division rival. What a gong show that would be!!!
I see the NHL has now taken control of the Phoenix Coyotes. Would they have to do the same thing in Winnipeg??? The league says the team isn't going anywhere and I have to ask why?? Its obvious the NHL is not working in the desert. Once the season is over, do what is necessary and move this team. I know some think the league returning to Winnipeg is nothing but a pipe-dream but I believe the team could survive there. I think a lot more people from Regina would head to Winnipeg to catch a game before going to Calgary. Saskatoon folks might still head to Edmonton more but its safe to say there would be a solid Saskatchewan presence at the MTS Centre. The old Winnipeg Arena is where I saw my first ever NHL game. My dad and I took the Greyhound to Winnipeg on a Friday night in 1979 to see the Bruins play the Jets. We got tickets that were about two rows from the top of the ancient stadium. The game ended in a 3-all tie. Peter Sullivan scored with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd and it looked like Winnipeg would win but Wayne Cashman tied it with about 30 seconds to go. From as high up as we were it looked like black dots were playing against white dots but I didn't care because I was at my first ever NHL game. When the game was over, we got back on the Greyhound and the bus driver had to wake both of us up in Indian Head to tell us we were home. The last thing I remember was the bus pulling out of the depot. I can't remember why we didn't take the car to Winnipeg. I think the weather was bad and Dad knew I wanted to go so we took the bus. It was one of two memorable sports trips I have taken with Dad. I'm not going to get into the other one right now but lets just say it ends with the two of us having to sleep in the car because he made a little mistake---and it had nothing to do with Mom. I still rag on him about that trip!!
Thanks for checking in!! More and more of you are coming to this page on a daily basis and I do thank you for that and ask once again. Have you got nothing better to do with your meagre little lives????? Just kidding!! (Again, the level of sarcasm isn't as strong in print as it is when over the air.)

Someone Enlighten Me

I'm hoping someone can provide an answer on this for me because I'm stumped. Someone please tell me why an aspiring hockey player would choose to go the NC double A route instead of playing in the Western Hockey League if he is a bonafide prospect. Case in point is Regina's Drew George. Drew is on the Notre Dame Hounds midget team that just won the Telus Cup. The Regina Pats own his rights and are hoping he will play for them instead of playing in the BC Junior League with hopes of then playing NCAA hockey in the U-S. The Leader-Post's Greg Harder did a great job in documenting George's story in Tuesday's edition.
George had a great season in Wilcox as he was 2nd in league scoring with 78 points. He then had 10 points in the Sask midget Triple A playoffs. He had seven points in four games at the Telus Cup qualifier in Swift Current and was named MVP and then had three goals and 10 points at the Telus Cup including a three point effort in the final. This kid sounds like he is very good. A career in the NHL could be beckoning.
When I look at the WHL and its scholarship program, I don't know how someone would not want to play at the major junior level knowing the pros are just one step away. There is no better league than the WHL to become developed for the ranks of professional hockey. With Regina being George's home, it means he wouldn't have to play far from home as some do, if you play a year in the WHL, you get a year's tuition paid for if you decide to go to University once your career is done. To me the decision would be crystal clear.
I'm sure the reasons that Drew and his parents have are valid ones and maybe I haven't got enough information in front of me but I really find it inexplicable as to why someone with Drew's talents would want to take the road he is taking when the other road seems to be so much better. When I say this, I am not being critical of the Georges, its just a question that I think needs to be asked. As I said, maybe they don't like the direction the Pats are going, maybe there is something about the WHL they don't like, maybe some other promises have been made. If that's the case, I'm OK with it but I am confused as to why you wouldn't want to play in the best league possible to get ready for the professional game if you have the talent that this kid seemingly has.
The WHL player of the year is Calgary's Brett Sonne. He had 100 points in 62 games for the Hitmen who battle Kelowna in the league final. Pats forward Jordan Weal did not win rookie of the year. That honour goes to Prince George's Brett Connelly.
Alex Ovechkin now knows who the other two finalists are for the Hart Trophy symbolic of NHL MVP. The Washington forward goes up against Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk in the final balloting. (Just give the award to Ovie now!!)
With the weather being crappy again and the fact there is no hockey on tonight, I'm going to check out the Blue Jays game. I haven't watched a lot of the Jays this year because of the playoffs but tonight seems to be a perfect night to. Those potent Toronto bats have quite a task in front of them too as they go up against Kansas City's Zack Greinke who is the best pitcher in the American League right now. The game will be on Sportsnet....sort of. I don't know why but Sportsnet is really screwing around with Toronto broadcasts this year. Tonight's game will be on Sportsnet Pacific and Ontario. Sportsnet West gets the Tigers-Yankees and Sportsnet East gets Boston-Cleveland. This is great if you're a baseball fan but if you're a Jays fan and you don't get all the packages you have to wonder what is going on. This isn't the first time this has happened this year. When Toronto was in Minnesota, I was ready to watch the game only to find out it wasn't on. It wasn't until an hour and a half later that I discovered the game was on Sportsnet East and Pacific. This one is a real headscratcher.
Yahoo Sports says the co-main event for UFC 101 has been signed. It will be Forrest Griffin against Anderson Silva. This coming just days after UFC prez Dana White was vocal with his disgust over the performance Silva gave at UFC 97 against Thales Leites. The big baby BJ Penn will fight Kenny Florian in the other half of the main event for the pay per view which will happen in August.
If you watched Wrestlemania, you saw Mickey Rourke get in the ring and smack Chris Jericho once the match was over. Vince had wanted Rourke to fight Jericho but that plan went south for one reason or another. Rourke has revealed he his broke his hand on Jericho's mush when he hit him. NICE!!! By the way, the current storyline surrounding 'Santina Marella" that is going on in the WWE may have to be one of the stupidest storylines going. It still doesn't rank up there with the Mark Henry-Mae Young storyline but CMON!!!!
One last thing. Go to Rider o-lineman Jeremy O'Days website at He and other Riders and other members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders are teaming up to help a worthwhile cause. Numerous game worn, as well as autographed items have been donated by players and are available for auction. All proceeds from this auction will go to Jesse's Journey- a foundation that provides funding for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Giving Blondes A Bad Name

No, I'm not spending the morning looking at cheerleaders of various pro sports franchises. If I was, you would get a review of the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders. This comes to me courtesy of a friend of mine who e-mailed me this link. Thanks Brad!! He somewhat likes the Nuggets but I don't know why he is lurking on the cheerleaders page. Anyhoo, check out what this girl has for an answer under the "Most people don't know that" question. Maybe Krista was sipping on some of that bacon vodka before answering. Nice job there!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Game 7 Stunner

I'll get to Game 7's in a moment and there were two good ones last night but if you are a fan of the New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils, perhaps you might want some of this....
Oh yeah bay-bee!!! Bacon flavoured vodka is here!! This is not a joke. This is an actual product. You can go to the website which you see with the pic. Can you put some of this over your perogies??? Is this what replaces orange juice when you are having your scrambled eggs?? I don't think I would even want to sample this. How about you??

If you are a Devils fan, you might be drinking this stuff straight up to get over what happened in Game 7. The Devils were 90 seconds away from Round 2 and they gassed it. Tim Gleason made a great play to keep the puck in and seconds later the puck was in the net courtesy the stick of Jussi Jokinen to tie the game at 3 at the 1840 mark and with everyone thinking we were off to overtime, Eric Staal sent the "Canieacs" into a frenzied state and left New Jersey supporters wondering what happened as he scores with 32 seconds to go meaning Carolina moves on after a 4-3 win. They will play Boston in round 2. I'm sure if you visit Rod Pedersen's blog this morning that he is absolutely crucifying the Devils because he took all New Jersey in the Pats draft. Sometimes you win with that philosophy, sometimes you lose!! Tough one Rod. You were probably in the money had New Jersey moved on. I'm not going anywhere in that one either after losing a bunch of Flyers. If Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond become this year's John Druce than maybe I can squeak in. Lets just say I don't think Annika's college fund is getting a deposit anytime soon.

The other Eastern semi is the NHL's dream matchup. Yes, Sid meets Ovie as the Penguins will play the Capitals. Washington somehow wins Game 7 despite looking lackadaisacal throughout. Sergei Fedorov scored with 5 minutes left to give Washington a 2-1 win. The decision by Caps coach Bruce Boudreau to yank Jose Theodore after Game 1 and replace him with Simeon Varlamov is proving to be the move of the playoffs. Its like Peter Laviolette replacing Martin Gerber with the then unknown Cam Ward who went on to win the Conn Smythe as the Hurricanes beat the Oilers.

Here is how everything will shake down in Round 2.


Friday, May 1 at Boston, 7:30 p.m ET
Sunday, May 3 at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 6 at Carolina 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 8 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
*Sunday, May 10 at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
*Tuesday, May 12 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
*Thursday, May 14 at Boston, TBD


Saturday May 2 at Washington 1 pm ET
Monday May 4 at Washington 7 pm
Wednesday May 6 at Pittsburgh 7 pm
Friday May 8 at Pittsburgh 7 pm
*Saturday May 9 at Washington 7 pm
*Monday May 11 at Pittsburgh TBD
*Wednesday May 13 at Washington 7 pm


Friday, May 1 at Detroit, 7 pm ET (TSN 2)
Sunday, May 3 at Detroit, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 7 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
*Sunday, May 10 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, May 12 at Anaheim, TBD
*Thursday, May 14 at Detroit, TBD


Thursday, April 30 at Vancouver, 9 pm ET
Saturday, May 2 at Vancouver, 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 7 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m.
*Saturday, May 9 at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m
*Monday, May 11 at Chicago, 9:00 p.m.
*Thursday, May 14 at Vancouver, TBD
I heard Alex Smith talking about the CFL draft last night. The man in charge of the draft for the Riders saying the football team has no glaring needs and they are extremely happy with the Canadian content they already have. They have several guys they are looking at and when it gets to their turn they will see who has been taken and select who they feel is the best player. The Riders first pick will be the first pick of the 2nd round---9th overall. University of Alberta offensive lineman Simeon Rottier is pegged by scouts as the number one pick but Smith feels the Ti-Cats should take a receiver with the number one pick. His rationale being they will still get a good offensive lineman at 3 and that it could be Rottier. If Hamilton adheres to Smith's theory, it means they will take Acadia receiver Matt Carter. We will see. The Rams and Huskies will both watch with interest. Regina defensive back Tamon George and defensive lineman Stan Van Sichem are both pegged to go within the first two rounds as is U of S slotback Scott McHenry. With Keith Shologan around, I don't think the Riders would take Van Sichem but I could see them going after George. With the depth at receiver that the team has, I don't see McHenry trading in U of S green and white for Rider green and white.
Speaking of the Rams, they are going to play all of their home games on a Friday night this year. I think that's a great idea. Here's hoping they can get some kind of deal going to get University students to the stadium and back and here's hoping that Mr and Mrs Regina who love their football get their weekends started right by taking in the games. Those games are Friday September 4 against Manitoba, September 18 against Calgary, October 9 versus Simon Fraser and October 30 against the Huskies. You can get your tickets by going to
One of the better junior hockey websites out there is one that former Global Regina sportscaster Dean Millard has. Check out the information he is hearing.

I believe a certain former sportscaster at News Talk Radio has been saying this would be a great idea for years. I hope this happens!!!!

I'm not saying its going to happen but don't be surprised if you hear Brett Favre talk about coming back again. You see the New York Jets officially released Favre on Tuesday night. It means he is an unrestricted free agent. Yes, Favre can play for any team he wants now---including the team he wanted to play for last year---a team that still doesn't have a top notch quarterback---the Minnesota Vikings. Under terms of his trade to the Jets, New York would have had to give Green Bay three first round picks if they traded him back into their division. With Favre now a free agent, the Jets are no longer on the hook. What makes this interesting is the Jets didn't have to make this move. By making it, it means that window to return is once again open. Don't be surprised if you hear more on this soon and don't be surprised to learn Favre might be getting that itch back. I for one hope we have seen the last of Favre. Coming back would just tarnish his legacy a little more.
Finally, could Humboldt Broncos coach Dean Brockman be headed to the WHL after the RBC Cup??? I'm hearing he could be and that he wouldn't be leaving Saskatchewan. I'll leave it up to you as to what team has perhaps been kicking the tires.

Not Again!!!!

Name game back on; CFL: Roughriders vs. Rough Riders;
Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
Page: A26 Section:
Jim Hopson is excited about the prospect of having Ottawa back in the CFL -- just not so thrilled that the would-be franchise owners want to call the team the Rough Riders.
As one might guess, the president/ CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is among those who believes each club in a league really should have its own nickname.
"The consensus here is that we would like to see only one Roughrider team in the league," Hopson said. "We are pretty proud of the name Roughriders and the success and history we've had with it."
Yet the Jeff Hunt-fronted consortium that this week moved closer to its goal of re-incarnating pro football in the nation's capital already has an agreement with former Ottawa Rough Rider owner Horn Chen to purchase the old team logo and name for a price that's believed to be in the $100,000 range.
To have stuff to stick both on, all the group needs now is a home.
While the team likely would not begin play until the 2011 season, the name game will assuredly start as soon as the stadium deal is signed and the "conditional" tag is lifted off the franchise.
"I played in the '70s and the Riders broke our hearts more than once," Hopson, a former Roughriders offensive lineman, said yesterday from Regina. "It was always the East Riders versus the West Riders, or Green Riders ... there was some ridicule made of that."

A Whole Lotta This And A Whole Lotta That

First off, it is the end of April right?? I know we have had snow in May before but after the winter we went through I think everyone agrees with me when I say enough is enough!!!

A couple of blog readers have come up with some interesting thoughts regarding the Calgary Flames. Brian H suggests if the Flames get rid of Mike Keenan which for some reason I think will happen would Brent Sutter be a possible replacement. There have been rumblings of Sutter wanting to be closer to home and for that reason he is being considered for the Edmonton job but I never thought of him joining Darryl in Calgary. That would be a coup for the Flames. Imagine then if Brian Sutter went and coached the Oilers. It would create a family feud that even Richard Dawson might not cure anytime soon.

Steve also mentions that while Joe Thornton is going to be and has been taking a lot of criticism for his play in yet another early exit for the Sharks, why isn't anyone being critical of Jarome Iginla. Iggy has not gotten his team beyond the first round for the past three years and if he is the leader everyone claims he is then he should get just as much abuse as Thornton if not more because he plays for a Canadian team. Whaddaya think???? He's got a point doesn't he.

Speaking of the Sharks, there is no doubt in my mind this team has to be blown up. GM Doug Wilson has to be spitting nails this morning after seeing his team "soil the linen" yet again. Could Wilson or would Wilson (if he stays) put together a package deal that involves Thornton, maybe a Michalek or a Pavelski or a Vlasic and a prospect or two to the Islanders for John Tavares. There is still a lot of talent in Sharksville but they need some new blood in there and they need some leadership in the playoffs that Thornton and Marleau can't provide for one reason or another. Could Tavares be the start of the restructuring??? Again, I just throw that out there.

I'm guessing and hoping you have seen Rob Vanstone's selections for the all-century Rider team. If not, here it is....

As promised, here are my choices and I gotta say a lot of them resemble what my High Impact Wrestling cohort has put down.

QB-Ron Lancaster (DUHH!!)
RB-Mike Saunders (Yes I realize that some in the older demographic will think I'm full of it because I'm not putting someone like Ed Buchanan or Ferd Burket in this spot)
FB-George Reed
Rec-Ray Elgaard
O-Line-Roger Aldag (but Gene Makowsky is very close and that's not a slight towards Roger)
D-Line-Bill Baker
Linebacker-Eddie Lowe
D-Back-Lorne Richardson
Safety-Ken McEachern (sorry Suits!!)
Special Teams-Dave Ridgway
Mr. Versatile-Al Ford
Coach-Eagle Keys
Team-1989 (again I remember these days vividly where as I was one week from being born when the 66 victory happened)
I'm surprised to see the Ti-Cats cut quarterback Richie Williams. Quinton Porter and Kevin Glenn are obviously 1-2 but with the draft coming up I would think Williams could have found a new home via trade. He would have been a nice backup to Calvillo in Montreal and yes maybe he could have battled Steven Jyles here.
The WHL final series is set. Here's the sked....
#1 - Kelowna @ Calgary; Friday, May 1 (7:30pm MT)
#2 - Kelowna @ Calgary; Saturday, May 2 (7:00pm MT)
#3 - Calgary @ Kelowna; Monday, May 4 (7:00pm PT)
#4 - Calgary @ Kelowna; Wednesday, May 6 (7:00pm PT)
#5 - Kelowna @ Calgary; Thursday, May 7 (7:00pm MT)**
#6 - Calgary @ Kelowna; Saturday, May 9 (7:00pm PT)**
#7 - Kelowna @ Calgary; Monday, May 11 (7:00pm MT)**
** - if necessary
The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2009 inductees today. They include Mark Messier, Warren Moon and Hugh Campbell.

Top Ten List That Yankee Fans Won't Want To See

I got this from the page of one of my fantasy baseball leagues that I am in. Enjoy....

10) Offense usually goes up in warm weather, which means we can expect a triple-figure runs game by late summer
9) Nick Swisher isn't going to have his current 1.101 OPS shrink down to his career .813 mark until at least July
8) Phil Hughes starts on Tuesday, rather than, well, Ian Kennedy or Kei Igawa
7) Mariano Rivera almost never blows saves against anyone but the Red Sox
6) Even after being swept in Boston this weekend in a particularly humiliating fashion, they are still a .500 team
5) You probably won't lose another game this year from the opposing team pulling off a straight steal of home base
4) Swisher has the best ERA on the staff, and might be the only non-Rivera reliever who is at all reliable
3) They won't finish the year with a 6.41 team ERA; it's certain to get down to at least, well, 6
2) CC Sabathia stunk in April last year... and really turned it around as soon as he went to the National League
1) Very good seats are still available at the new Stadium

Monday, April 27, 2009

Riders All Century Team/Goodbye Calgary, Goodbye San Jose

I'll get to the Stanley Cup playoffs in a second. I am happy today because I know that once again the Cup will not reside in either Calgary or Toronto but first I gotta talk about this. Rider fans are getting an opportunity to select the all-century team. Details of the initiative were announced Monday as the 2010 Kidsport Rider calendar was unveiled. The 2010 calendar, to be released in the fall, will feature an all-century team. Fans are being asked to choose that team as part of an online poll.
Fans can visit and vote in the following categories during prescribed time periods: Top offensive lineman (until Wednesday), defensive lineman (April 30 to May 3), special-teams player (May 4-6), receiver (May 7-10), defensive back/linebacker combined (May 11-13), versatile player/coach (May 14-17), safety/cornerback combined (May 18-20), halfback (May 21-24), head coach (May 25-27), top team (May 28-31), quarterback (June 1-3) and fullback/running back (June 4-7). I'll give you my picks later today.
Those that know me know I detest the Calgary Flames. Never have liked them, never will. Most of that stems from the fact that my NHL allegiances strongly lie with the team that resides about 2 1/2 hours north of Calgary. Needless to say then I was not disappointed to see the Flames exit the Stanley Cup dance at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago took it to Calgary right from the start and after two quick goals, they had an easy time of it eliminating the Flames in 6 with a 4-1 win. Not having Dion Phaneuf certainly didn't help Calgary but they really needed a better effort from Miikka Kiprusoff in this series--especially in the last two games. I now wonder if this ends the Mike Keenan era in Calgary. Something just seems to tell me Keenan will not be behind the bench when the 2009-2010 season starts. I don't have any real reason for that---lets just say my spidey senses are tingling.
As for Chicago, how can you not like the way these guys play. I don't think they can get to the finals this year but one would have to think they could get there next year and maybe win it. Jonathan Toews has become one of my favourite players and with guys like Kane, Sharp, Seabrook, Barker and Keith around him, one has to believe bigger and better things are in store for this franchise. In fact, I think they will win the Cup within the next 5 years.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks can enjoy that Presidents Trophy flag. Has there been a bigger disappointment over the past five years than this group? Once again the Sharks lay a collective playoff egg as they are beaten in six games by Anaheim meaning the best team in the NHL during the regular season is now a spectator.
I don't know why this team pulls the chute in the playoffs but this is a team that for the past five years have been considered a Stanley Cup favourite. Todd McLellan has now found out what Ron Wilson found out for the last three years and that is his team is not made for the playoffs. I thought the Sharks were good enough last year to get to and possibly win the Cup but after what happened last year I wasn't buying what they were doing this year and I end up being right.
I told you Anaheim would win this series because I just knew Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would disappear for a good portion of this matchup and they did. Both were great in Game 5 to keep the series alive but Thornton was pre-occupied with having a fight with Ryan Getzlaf at the start of the game and then loafed his way through the rest of it while Marleau was once again a spectator. GM Doug Wilson has to seriously consider moving these two guys who are quickly becoming the posterchilds of post-season failure. This means round 2 in the West will have Anaheim against Detroit and the Hawks taking on Vancouver.
The WHL is not getting its dream final. The Kelowna Rockets trailed Vancouver 4-2 with less than 5 minutes to play in Game 6. It looked like a 7th game would be needed but the Rockets get goals from Jamie Benn and Cody Almond at 1555 and 1628 to send the game into overtime. Kelowna completes the comeback when Mikael Backlund tips one past Tyson Sexsmith for a hat-trick and more importantly a 5-4 win and a date against the Calgary Hitmen in the final. Can Kelowna do what Edmonton, Lethbridge and Brandon could not do and that is take at least one game? As you know, Calgary goes in having not lost a playoff game this year. The Rockets will likely go in without top defenceman Tyler Myers. He ran former Pats blueliner Craig Schira from behind in the 3rd leaving Schira with a nasty cut.
Do you remember the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago when Boise State beat Oklahoma in what might be one of the greatest football games I have ever seen. Well, the quarterback of that Boise State team is now in the CFL. The Eskimos signing Jared Zabransky to a contract. I'm guessing he won't be taking Ricky Ray's job anytime soon but maybe he can be a clipboard holder in year one. Did you know he is an EA Sports cover boy as he was on the NCAA Football 08 cover.
Here's a factoid for you. Did you know that since Cito Gaston took over again as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays that the Jays have the best record in the majors. Since June 2oth of last year, Toronto is 65-44. That 44th loss came at the hands of Kansas City last night. A lot of people are starting to pay attention to what is happening in Toronto. I still want to see how they handle themselves against division rivals Boston, Tampa and New York before I see if this team can make a playoff run. Of course with the way Toronto is hitting the ball they might want to see that abysmal Yankees pitching staff very soon.
I won't talk a lot of NBA on this blog because I know there is very little interest but one can't help but notice the score in last nite's playoff game between Denver and New Orleans. The Nuggets beat the Hornets in New Orleans by a score of 121-63. The 58 point beatdown ties the record for the largest margin of victory in NBA playoff history. The last time it happened was in 1973. It was so bad that the two teams played in front of what virtually was an empty arena in the final quarter as many went home. Getting beat by 58 at home----that's nasty!!!!
I saw something yesterday that I wish I could see more of. While driving back home yesterday, there were a group of kids playing street hockey. Is it just me or is street hockey dying. Kids are more pre-occupied with getting home today to get on their X-Box or their PS 3. They want to text or do whatever but they don't seemingly want to play street hockey anymore. When we were growing up, we know that we played until either the sun went down or Mom called us in. I don't see that anymore which is sad. Needless to say it was refreshing to see this group of kids going at it. Here's hoping I can see more of it.
Thanks for checking out the blog. Have a good Tuesday!!

Stanley Cup News

1)Washington forward Donald Brashear gets six games for his hit on Ranger forward Blair Betts during yesterday's game and for his pre-game exchange with Ranger forward Colton Orr

2)Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf will not play tonight against Chicago after getting hurt in Game 5.

NASCAR And The NHL/Graham Harrell Update

Watching the morning loop of highlights and listening to "The Dan Patrick Show" this morning, it finally hit me. NASCAR is to Canadians what the NHL is to Americans. If you haven't seen or heard, the NASCAR race at Talladega ended yesterday with a wild crash on the final lap. That is all everyone is talking about today with the exception of the NFL draft. You are not hearing who won or lost you are just hearing about the crash. Its like the NHL in the US. You don't hear a lot about it unless there is some violence attached to it. You know no one would put some serious discussion about the Hurricanes win over New Jersey but had someone hit someone else over the head with their stick or crunched someone through the glass or there was a good old fashioned brouhaha that we would see it.
Many in the U-S are addicted to NASCAR. Many in Canada are addicted to the NHL. There are Canadian NASCAR fans and there are American hockey fans but they are few and far between. Each sport has its niche--that's fine. I understand that. Each NHL city has its core of hardcore fans and I'm sure each Canadian city has its hardcore NASCAR fans--hell I know about 5-6 guys that are NASCAR crazy and can't believe I can't enjoy it.
I don't see NASCAR trying to make their sport a North American one but I continue to see Gary Bettman try to make the NHL a North American one. It won't happen, it never will. Hockey in some places just won't sell. Who was it asked someone in Washington this week to name a Washington Capital and his answer was Spokane???. NASCAR brings some of its races out of its traditional Southern area but everything is focused in the "redneck" portion of the US. The NHL needs to realize that and start considering Canada as more of an option than a detriment. If someone wants to bring a 2nd team to Toronto, so be it. If someone wants to bring a team back to Winnipeg, so be it. You know what I mean.
Agree or disagree???
The other of the two high profile neg list quarterbacks the Riders have who didn't get drafted this weekend has signed a free agent contract. Graham Harrell of Texas Tech signed with Cleveland. There had been a report he had signed with Dallas but that was not true. I'm not sure why scouts are so down on Harrell. I saw him play a few times this season as the Red Raiders were considered at one time a favourite to play in the BCS championship game. Maybe scouts got a good look at the way Texas Tech got spanked at the Cotton Bowl by Ole Miss. Another potential Rider has also signed a free agent contract with an NFL team. That would be North Dakota state running back Tyler Roehl who came here in the Adarius Bowman trade. He has signed with Seattle.
Message to blog demi-god Rod Pedersen. You need to be accredited for this now??? My papers haven't come in the mail yet!! :P Have fun this afternoon. I won't be there but I hope someone does ask the question and I hope Brent comes out and says either A)Dale is done or B) Dale is back. He doesn't deserve to be twisting in the wind waiting for his fate to be determined by what could be someone else's future. No disrespect but its time to let everyone know what the future is and if Derkatch is a part of that future. Its only fair and Brent --despite his critics--I think has always been fair. With the bantam draft coming this week, it is time to look forward to next year. If Derkatch is to be part of that, its time to let him know.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Celebrating In Wilcox and Humboldt

(picture courtesy Hockey Canada)

Congrats to the Notre Dame Hounds. They are returning to Wilcox with the Telus Cup. The Hounds taking the Canadian midget hockey championship with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Buffaloes in the final game. Its the first time in 23 years that the Hounds have won the national midget title. The only team to have won more...........the Regina Pat Canadians. They have won it four times. (I did not know that until it was mentioned on the TSN broadcast). Christopher Gibson was the star for the Hounds. The tender stopping 43 shots to record the goose-egg.

Meanwhile, the Humboldt Broncos have won the Anavet Cup. The SJHL champs looked like they were dinner as they trailed the Portage Terriers 4-1 in Game 7 after 40 minutes. A 5 minute major on the Terriers in the 3rd resulted in two power play goals and then Scott Schroeder scored with just 47 seconds to go to send the game into overtime. Nick Kalnicki was the hero as he turned on the red light about 6 minutes into the extra frame meaning its off to Victoria and the RBC Cup.
Congrats to the Broncos who trailed this series 3-1 and had to win Games 6 and 7 in overtime to move on. A Saskatchewan based WHL team may not get far but the SJHL and our midget teams always seem to do well so maybe everything evens out. In the last 10 years, a Saskatchewan team has won the midget title 5 times (Pat Canadians 1999, Tisdale 2002, Saskatoon Contacts 2005, P-A Mintos 2006, 2007). In addition to that, a Saskatchewan team has taken 3 RBC Cups in the past decade.(Humboldt in 2003 and 2008 and Weyburn with their miraculous last second win on home ice in 2005.) I remember going to the first few games of that event and then I caught a wicked flu bug. I wanted to go to the semi-final but I just didn't have the energy. I listened to Cam Birnie do the play by play of that game which went into overtime and then I watched the final on TSN instead of going to Weyburn for the final even though I was feeling better. That's one I blew as I wished I would have seen it live. Oh well, you don't win em all.
John Tortorella wasn't behind the Rangers bench Sunday and the Rangers weren't there either. Washington dominated the Blueshirts as they force a Game 7 with a 5-3 win. A lot of debate on the one game suspension issued to Tortorella and whether or not the discipline was right. Some feel that Tortorella should not have been suspended but fined heavily instead because it hurts the integrity of the game not having the coach. Sorry but if Torts does something that is suspension worthy than he should be suspended. If that is what happens to a player, then why not a coach. The league did allow Tortorella to be in MSG Sunday afternoon, he was just not allowed to have contact with the team. The question I have is do the NHL security cops watch this. In this day and age, what was to stop Tortorella from texting Jim Schoenfeld or an assistant during the game or in the intermissions. He could have relayed a message to someone to take it downstairs. If the NHL is going to suspend him then he shouldn't be allowed into the rink. Yeah he can still find a way to communicate if he wants, but its a little tougher isn't it??

Game 7 will also be needed to determine the Carolina-Devils winner. The Hurricanes force a winner take all game with a 4-0 lead. With two Game 7's to be played in the East, the West will need wins by Calgary and San Jose tonight to force Game 7's there.
Canada beat Hungary at the World Hockey Championships (well DUHHH!!!). The final was predictably one sided as it finished 9-0. Marty St. Louis had a hat-trick. By the way, why is the WHL the best developmental league in the world. 25 players at the Worlds have played in the Dub. Thanks to former Leader-Post sports editor Gregg Drinnan for that little tidbit of info. Is there anyone more tuned into the WHL than Drinnan. If there is, I'd like to meet him.
The swine flu is in Canada is it??? Does it have anything to do with this cough I have had all day??!! Uh-Oh!!
I had my daughter at swimming lessons on Sunday. I ask this question. While she looked alright, why do some women feel the need to take their kid to the pool wearing a bikini?? Is she looking for a daddy???? Is this a sign I'm getting old??? As I said, she looked alright but I think its a little wrong to be wearing that little when you are attending swim lessons---at an indoor pool!!
Randy Orton, Edge and Christian all win the belts at the WWE pay per view known as Backlash. Shouldn't this have been done at Wrestlemania???? For those who watch wrestling and have watched it for years, I am thinking we can soon get ready for an Edge-Christian rivalry. With Orton winning, does this mean we are going to have see the Orton-Triple H feud continue. New storylines are needed.
Now that the NFL draft is over, we can start paying attention to next week's CFL draft. Where's all the CFL mock drafts???? Will the Riders do something this week to get another pick or two. We will see??? By the way, Missouri quarterback and Rider neg list player Chase Daniel has according to the Washington Post signed a free agent contract with the Redskins. No word if Texas Tech signalcaller Graham Harrell has signed one but its said Dallas is interested. There had been a report Sunday night he had signed with Carolina but that report was erroneous. The decision for no team to draft either Daniel or Harrell has left one person wondering what the hell???
That is all. Have a good one even though it is Monday!

Rider Neg List QB's Go Untouched

The Riders were wondering if any of the three quarterbacks they have on their negotiation list who could have been drafted in the NFL draft would be or not. The answer is no. Missouri's Chase Daniel, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Northwestern's C-J Bacher were not amongst the picks made when the draft ended Sunday morning. It is expected Daniel and Harrell will sign free agent contracts with one of the 32 NFL teams within the next few days and then go to camp. This is the same route Drew Tate took after a successful career at the University of Iowa before eventually becoming a Rider. Will the same hold true for this year's trio. We'll have to wait and find out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So Much For That

I said a Detroit-Philly Stanley Cup. Oops!! While Detroit looks like they can get back to the finals, the Flyers are done. They were up 3-0 at home in Game 6 looking like they were going to force a Game 7 in Pittsburgh. So much for that. The Penguins get the last 5--that 5th one in an empty net and its on to round 2 for Sid and company.

How bad were the Flames on Saturday?? Chicago kicked them from pillar to post in beating them 5-1. Calgary coach Mike Keenan giving the mercy pull to Miikka Kiprusoff in the 2nd. I wonder if that means that kid in Calgary that imitates Kipper--who I think must be a little touched---turns off the TV and goes to bed. Seriously, what does mini-Kipper do?? Does mini McElhinney take over? Does the kid go to bed without his milk and cookies?? Someday that kid is going to be real embarassed when ma and pa pull out the DVD's.

In order to win, your best players have to be your best players. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton woke up with the season on the line. Both Sharks playing their best game of the series against Anaheim and it nearly wasn't enough. Marleau scored in overtime to keep San Jose alive as they win 3-2 over the Ducks. San Jose will need a victory in Anaheim in Monday to force a Game 7.
John Tortorella won't be behind the Ranger bench for Game 6 against the Capitals Sunday. This after he got into it with a fan during Game 5 on Friday. If I'm Bruce Boudreau and the Capitals, I had better get ready for a wild afternoon at MSG. New York fans will not be happy over this development. Extra security will be needed behind the Washington bench. I wonder what Sean Avery thinks of this development.
Ryley Grantham's goal with about 90 seconds to go in the first period held up as the winner as Kelowna beat Vancouver 1-0 in Game 5 of the WHL West final. It means the Rockets can wrap it up on home ice in Game 6. That 6th game is Monday.
Game 7 will be needed at the Anavet Cup. Humboldt beat Portage 4-3 in overtime Saturday night. That 7th game is Sunday.
Yeah, I spent my Saturday with a lot of other people watching the NFL draft. I'm ok with Seattle taking linebacker Aaron Curry with the 4th overall pick. He will help make a defence that was abysmal a little better. The Jets pulled off the big coup as they trade with Cleveland to get quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets fans already love him. How long will it take for that to change. Will this prompt Brett Favre to text Steve Mariucci and say he's coming back. By the way, nothing against the Denver Broncos but I wish ill will on them in 2009. The reason being they made a trade to get Seattle's 2nd round selection. They give the Seahawks their first round pick--not the one they get in the Jay Cutler deal but theirs. I'm thinking that means Seattle will have another very high pick in the 2010 draft. I can't see the Broncos winning more than 4-5 games in 2009.
I have finally seen "The Wrestler". OUTSTANDING!!!!! Speaking of which, I have been told the WWE is indeed returning to Saskatchewan. They will be in both Regina and Saskatoon in August.
Remember Len Dykstra. The Phillies and Mets outfielder has turned into a douchebag extraordinare. Want to know what I mean. Read this......
Caught a glimpse of the NBA playoffs and the Lakers-Jazz series. How can a guy named Boozer be playing in Salt Lake City????
Enjoy your Sunday!

Sanchez a Jet--NFL's Top 10

The NFL draft is on. Here are the first 10 picks

1. Matthew Stafford-QB-Detroit
2. Jason Smith-OL-St. Louis
3. Tyson Jackson-DL-Kansas City
4. Aaron Curry-LB-Seattle (I'm OK with that!!)
5. Mark Sanchez-QB-New York Jets (Jets trade 1st and 2nd and two players to Cleveland to get this pick)
6. Andre Smith-OL-Cincinnati
7. Darrius Heyward-Bey-WR-Oakland
8. Eugene Monroe-OL-Jacksonville
9. BJ Raji-DL-Green Bay
10. Michael Crabtree-WR-San Francisco(Seahawks corners better be ready for this guy)

I am watching the draft with a bunch of ne'er do wells that are in my Sunday night fantasy football league. League commish Dan Karikas is celebrating the fact that he has most of the top ten picks correct including that of Heyward-Bey. I don't know how he pulled that off. Big time Rider fan and good friend Chris Garton is also here and he's not drinking so he must be sick. He is joined by website guru Jeff Armstead who is probably using the draft to scan new business. Hey, if Garts isn't having one it means the cooler must be stocked so I should go grab one or two and get back to the draft. Later!!!

Enough is Enough

The NFL draft starts at 2 o'clock Regina time and the NFL network comes on with its pre-show at 9. Just a little overkill dont'cha think.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Did Torts Screw Up??

Alexandre Ovechkin had the goal of the playoffs and the Capitals stayed alive in their first round series with the Rangers with a convincing 4-0 win but the story of the game was once again Sean Avery. The Ranger pest was a healthy scratch as coach John Tortorella decided to sit the agitator down after his meltdown at the end of Game 4. Tortorella feeling--and with good reason--that Avery was simply too much of a liability. However, the Rangers were not the same team without Avery that they are without him. They looked nothing like the team that won three of the first four games in this series.
It only asks the question as to whether or not Tortorella made the right move. Yes, the Capitals have all the momentum going into Game 6 but I think Tortorella did make the right decision. Avery is a ticking time bomb and he could have taken a stupid penalty or penalties that might have led to a Washington win. Tortorella sent Avery a message and its one he is hoping got through. I expect Avery to play in Game 6. If he doesn't, one can expect Avery has played his last game as a Blueshirt.
I forgot to mention this when I talked about the Canada win over Belarus at the World Hockey Championship. I didn't hear the whole conversation but it would appear as if Rider Pride is alive and well in Switzerland. Dave Randorf and Dave Reid were talking near the end of the hockey game and while I didn't hear the whole conversation, it would appear as if someone wearing Rider green was in attendance at the hockey game. Randorf also saying that there was someone wearing a Rider jersey at the world womens hockey championship in Finland. The Rider Nation is everywhere....everywhere I tell you. Like you didn't know that.
The drama is gone and the St. Louis Rams are on the clock. Detroit didn't really surprise anyone by announcing late Friday they have come to terms with University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford on a six year deal worth 78 million---41.7 million--- is guaranteed. I'm sorry but when you haven't taken a snap in the NFL and you are guaranteed almost 42 million, it only screams that a rookie salary cap needs to be put in place. Stafford could be a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf (although I don't think that will happen even though he's in Detroit) and he will get 42 million. That's ridiculous. It means the Rams are next and word is they will take offensive lineman Jason Smith from Baylor. Then it gets interesting. I really have no idea what direction my Seahawks will take at number 4. I don't even know if they will make the selection as I think they will trade it. If they are to use the pick, I hope they take Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. The Hawks are still thin at receiver and some think Crabtree might be the best pure athlete in the draft. Thus I say take him if you can. I think its going to be an interesting Saturday in New York City. CNN's Peter King was on Pardon the Interruption Friday and said the NFL draft is more popular than the NHL right now. I can't argue that statement. More people in the U-S are talking about the NFL draft than they are the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just another example as to how Gary Bettman's vision for the league has failed.
They haven't played Boston, Tampa or the Yankees but the Blue Jays continue to be one of the stories in baseball's first month. Toronto absolutely destroyed the White Sox 14-0 Friday night. The Jays have scored 118 runs in their first 18 games and averaging more than 10 hits a game. Adam Lind and Aaron Hill are tearing the cover off the ball and this no-name rotation behind Roy Halladay is getting the job done. As I said, I still think this team will be hard pressed to finish any higher than 3rd in the A-L East, but they are doing their best to prove me and many others wrong.
Its April 24 and with the windchill its minus 19. NICE!!!
Why can't I buy Cherry Powerade anymore??
If Troy Westwood's comments several years ago resulted in the formation of the Banjo Bowl, what will Mike Kelly's comments of this week spawn. Do I really want to know???
Have a good weekend!

Sorry Bout That--Signed Loseipeg

From the Canadian Press

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have apologized to Saskatchewan for a derogatory remark made at the CFL team's fan forum Tuesday night.
During the annual event attended by some 300 Bomber fans, one fan referred to Regina as "the crotch of Canada." And later when new Bombers head coach Mike Kelly was talking about the trades made with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos, he picked up on the reference.
"We kind of raided the toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada," Kelly said, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
While the fans apparently laughed at Kelly's remarks, it wasn't a laughing matter for long.
Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer issued an apology after receiving some e-mails from upset Saskatchewan residents.
"The Winnipeg Football Club apologizes to the residents of Saskatchewan and Roughrider fans for comments which emanated at the Blue Bomber fan forum," Bauer said.
"The Winnipeg Football Club holds our partners to the west in a very high regard, as we share similar corporate cultures and values in our respective status as community-sponsored teams. The comments by a fan and our head coach were truly meant in the playful spirit of our great rivalry. We do recognize that some might not have received it in the context in which it was made."
Bauer also pointed to his own roots.
"As someone who was born and raised in Saskatchewan, I share the pride of the residents," he said. "However, I know there is no disrespect meant by those who made the comments."

Chase Daniel Update

I've been scouring NFL mock drafts. While agonizing over the fact that I can't decide if the Seahawks should take USC quarterback Mark Sanchez at number 4, I am noticing that it appears as if Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel--who is on the Riders neg list--won't get drafted. The Heisman finalist from 2008 still hopes to get a call though....

I'm thinking Daniel may be here before or shortly after Rider camp begins......and can that just come??? Yeesh!!!

Canada Wins WHC Opener

I guess the real story would have been had Canada lost its opener at the World Hockey Championship in Switzerland. The Canadians beat Belarus 6-1. Dany Heatley and Steve Stamkos each had a pair.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


What do you think of the playoffs so far? Not what is happening on the ice but the way the game is being brought into your living room. TSN has been taking some heat for picking up American feeds for the Columbus-Detroit and New Jersey-Carolina series but I say why not. Its likely cheaper to produce and the quality of the broadcast is still the same. Bottom line is we are still getting series that otherwise we might not get so stop bitching about it.
I actually don't have much of a problem with either TSN or Hockey Night in Canada during these playoffs. I find it interesting that the Gord Miller-Pierre McGuire combo has been broken up with Miller doing the Washington-Rangers series with Ray Ferraro while Chris Cuthbert gets paired with Pierre McGuire. Could this be a sign that there is a changing of the guard at TSN and Cuthbert is now the number one guy. I hope so. Nothing against Miller but in my mind, there is no better than Cuthbert. Whether it be football or hockey, Cuthbert gets the job done. He is the best and many (including myself) can only strive to be close to where he's at. Jim Hughson also belongs in that stratosphere as far as I'm concerned. If one of those two guys are doing a game, I'll sit down and watch because they are Canada's elite.
The studio shows are basically the same. Yes, HNIC brings us Don Cherry which is always entertaining and Ron McLean is Ron McLean, but James Duthie and the crew are also good, they are entertaining and they are informative. Yes, Darren Dreger gets on my nerves for some unknown reason and the PJ Stock segments on Hockey Night give me a reason to go to the fridge but you can't have perfection can you? I just think its great that Canadians can sit down and watch their game night after night after night and have two networks committed to bringing you their best delivering on that night after night.
Looking at the action from last night, the Ducks just dominated San Jose winning Game 4 by a score of 4-0. Anaheim wants this series and San Jose wants to go home. I don't know why Joe Thornton goes from one of the game's elite players in the regular season to being one of the most disinterested come playoff time but he just looks like he's out for a skate. It was even suggested last nite that coach Todd McLellan bench his superstar for the 3rd period because of the effort he had given in the first two periods. That was supported by video evidence of his lackadaiscal play. Thornton then was guilty on a giveaway in his own zone resulting in the Ducks 3rd goal of the game. If San Jose loses this series, and it looks like they now will, I think its time to blow this team up. It doesn't matter if Ron Wilson is coaching them or if Todd McLellan is, the roster has stayed the same for too long with core guys like Thornton, Marleau, Cheechoo and Nabokov being around for playoff failure after playoff failure. Its time for GM Doug Wilson to take a good hard look at his team and make some big time changes. Its now clearly obvious they aren't a team willing to do what is needed come playoff time. By the way, why pull the goalie when you are down 3. It makes no sense and just makes the final look worse.

Marty Brodeur was pissed off when he left the ice after Game 4 of the Devils-Carolina series when the Hurricanes scored with .2 seconds left to win. Brodeur was hot as he left the ice thinking he had been interfered with. He may have taken that "you won't score on me again" attitude into Game 5. Brodeur showed why he is considered the world's best goalie with a 44 save performance in a 1-0 win leaving New Jersey with a 3-2 advantage.

Detroit is moving on but not after a hard fought 6-5 win over Columbus to finish the Jackets off in 4. Columbus had a terrible too many men on the ice penalty late in the game and it cost them as Johan Franzen scored with just less than a minute to play in regulation.
The Kelowna Rockets have evened the WHL West final at two after a 3-0 win over Vancouver. The Rockets holding the powerful Giants offence to just 14 shots on goal. Meanwhile, Humboldt let the Portage Terriers know they weren't going to skate around the Elgar Petersen arena with the Anavet Cup. The Broncos smoked Portage 12-2 in Game 5. Humboldt still trails 3-2 and faces the unenviable task of winning twice in Portage to go to the RBC Cup.
Those that make the commercials for Sharp Aquos have to get that guy hawking the TV's off the air. That guy just creeps me out. Is he related to the Man From Glad??? I realize the guy is a muckety muck for Sharp but get someone else to do the ads.
My wife has started to watch Harpers Island. It looks like a show I'd be interested in but oh yeah, the playoffs are on. Its hard enough to watch "24" these days. Thank god for the PVR. I still can't believe Tony Almeida is one of the bad guys. I also find it hard to believe Jack will die. JACK CAN"T DIE!!!!
My good friend Keith Colhoun (Perhaps Regina's only Atlanta Falcons fan---something he proudly admits to being) must be a happy man this morning. This after the Falcons get perhaps the NFL' s best tight end--Tony Gonzalez--in a trade with Kansas City. It gives 2nd year quarterback Matt Ryan another weapon to throw to. The NFC South may be the best division in the NFL in 2009.
That's all for now. Have a good Friday! Thanks for reading!

Thumbs Up To TSN

Last year, the CFL draft could be seen on a webcast through TSN. I thought Rod Black and Duane Forde did an excellent job with that webcast and I wondered on an edition of the Drew Remenda Sports Show if TSN should just abandon the webcast idea and let Canadians from coast to coast enjoy the draft without sitting behind a keyboard. TSN is indeed to going to let you see the CFL draft on your TV. The network saying today the first two rounds of the draft will be shown on the network starting at 9 AM Regina time May 2. Make no doubt about it, this won't have the glitz and glamour of the NFL draft that will be on this weekend but this is a good sign. Good job TSN!!

BTW: Thanks for the kind words Barry T. I'm sure I'll run into ya soon!

Toronto x 2??

The idea of Toronto being home to two NHL teams has re-surfaced today. The Globe reporting NHL deputy commish Bill Daly met with a group that would like to see another team come to the T dot O dot recently. That group says they have a package of land near Pearson International Airport that they would use for a new arena. The league confirms today Daly spoke to the group but there is no consideration to bring a second franchise to Toronto whether it be by expansion or relocation. The question I ask is why not??

If New York can have two teams and if L-A can basically have two teams with the Kings and Ducks then why can't Toronto? There is no doubt the support would be there and I don't think a team would have a drastic impact on the day to day operations of the Sabres and Leafs. There is no doubt in my mind it would work. The only question I have is why such a desire to build a new building. Copps Coliseum in Hamilton is more than adequate and really if it appeased Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, why not put the 2nd team at the Air Canada Centre. The NBA's Lakers and Clippers both play at Staples Centre and there is still room to get the Kings in so its not like this hasn't been done before.

Its obvious Gary Bettman has no desire to see the league return to Winnipeg or Quebec City. Places like Halifax and Saskatoon can only dream even though they have buildings that could be turned into NHL calibre arenas. He would rather watch teams flounder in Nashville, Miami, Tampa and of course Phoenix. At some point, Mr. Bettman will no longer be the commissioner of the league. While he has done many things good for the league, his legacy will be one of a failed vision to get this game going in the U-S. Its not too late for Mr. Bettman's legacy to change if he would abandon that vision and get the game back in places where its embraced and not considered an after-thought.

And besides, one can only imagine the uproar if Toronto's 2nd team won the Cup before the Leafs did. Oh that would be humorous.

Good News For Ottawa And The CFL

It looks like the CFL might be returning to Ottawa yet again----of course lets just hope in Saskatchewan that they don't want to be the Rough Riders again!!!!

Franchise holders get nod from council
The Globe and Mail
Thu 23 Apr 2009
Byline: David Naylor

The potential return of the CFL to Ottawa got a big boost yesterday when Ottawa city council voted 14-9 to enter 60 days of negotiation on the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park - including the reconstruction of Frank Clair Stadium - with a group that owns a conditional CFL franchise.
"It's the best possible news for us today," said Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt, one of four partners who own the conditional CFL franchise. "We just won a round of the playoffs and we get to savour that. It's an enormously important part of the process but we wake up tomorrow knowing we have another round or two before we're finished."
The proposal from Hunt's group had been rivalled by one from Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who wants to build an outdoor stadium in suburban Kanata, which would house a Major League Soccer team, next to the Scotiabank Place arena.
At one point in recent days, it appeared the city was leaning toward a deal that would have redeveloped Lansdowne Park without an outdoor stadium while building one in Kanata. But that movement fell apart when Melnyk said he was unwilling to accommodate the CFL as well as professional soccer.
"I declined the opportunity to put both teams in the same stadium," Melnyk said in a statement released on Tuesday. "The risk was too high - and I was not prepared to put the stability of the whole organization on the line for a last- minute deal - however tempting it was."
That left council with the choice of reopening the question of what to do with Lansdowne or voting to sit down with the Hunt group and try to come up with a deal.
"City council made two important decisions today," Hunt said. "That a world- class outdoor stadium is a priority, which is huge. And the second is that the outdoor stadium needs to be at Lansdowne. So now city staff have a mandate under terms of the motion to negotiate a partnership with [our group].
While Melnyk's proposal for a Kanata stadium is not dead, it will not be dealt with until after the Lansdowne stadium issue is resolved. Assuming a deal to fix Frank Clair Stadium can be reached, it seems highly unlikely the city would authorize a second outdoor stadium.
The basics of the Hunt group proposal calls for the city to invest $97- million reconstructing Frank Clair Stadium and making improvements to the Ottawa Civic Centre, home of the 67s.
The Hunt group would then invest $140-million in commercial development at Lansdowne Park and operate a CFL team out of the stadium.
A 30-year agreement would see the Hunt group responsible for all operation and upkeep of the park, which currently costs the city $3.8-million a year.
"I'm optimistic that we can come upon an agreement that meets their criteria in the next 60 days that will allow [the redevelopment of Lansdowne] to prevail, " Hunt said.
The Hunt group, which includes local businessmen John Ruddy, Roger Greenberg and William Shenkman, had been awarded a CFL expansion franchise at the end of last winter on the condition they secure a deal to reconstruct the stadium.
Hunt said the latest step allows the group to continue shooting for its target of joining the CFL for the 2011 season.
"That's the plan if we can bring the proposal back to council for, hopefully, a positive vote," Hunt said. "I think we can at least say there's no delays as a result of anything today ... 2011 is still the goal."
Yesterday's vote was also good news for the CFL, which is hoping to follow up the recent announcement of a new stadium for Winnipeg with one in Ottawa.
The last CFL team in Ottawa folded after only four seasons, before the 2006 season.
"We remain excited about bringing the CFL back to the national capital," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement. "A multi-use stadium, as part of a vibrant, new place for people in the heart of Ottawa, would be an important piece of social and economic infrastructure. It would make a tremendous contribution to the quality of life in Ottawa, something that's critical to its future prosperity, and we're pleased that it is one step closer to reality today."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where Do I Start??

The Stanley Cup playoffs, the WHL, the Anavet Cup, some UFC, another blown save by BJ Ryan. I've got a lot to talk about but first off I found this story to be verrrry interesting out of Ottawa. Perhaps its the reason why Pats GM Brent Parker hasn't determined the status of coach Dale Derkatch for next year.

As the Binghamton Senators wait to hear if their coach will return next season, Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray is beginning to ponder personnel changes that will help the American Hockey League team to its first playoff berth in five seasons.
Murray said on Tuesday that Binghamton coach Curtis Hunt hasn't yet decided whether he will return to the team next season. That decision should be coming in the next week or so.
Hunt took over the baby Sens on Feb. 4, two days after he and Craig Hartsburg were ousted as assistant coach and head coach, respectively, in Ottawa, and then-Binghamton coach Cory Clouston was promoted to Ottawa.
Hunt compiled a respectable 16-14-2-1 record in a situation that was far from ideal. He lost Brian Elliott, Brendan Bell, Brian Lee and Ryan Shannon to Ottawa. Then, down the stretch, there were injuries to Denis Hamel, Danny Bois, Matt Carkner, Peter Regin and Josh Hennessy.
Though they led the fifth-place Philadelphia Phantoms by 12 points in the East Division of the Eastern Conference on March 13, the Senators were bounced from the playoff race after a 6-1 loss to Norfolk in their penultimate game of the season.
The Phantoms went 11-3-0-3 over their last 17 games to claim the division's final playoff spot. The Senators went 5-7-0-1 while averaging just 2.23 goals over their final 13 games. Binghamton finished the season with a 41-30-5-4 record.
When the season ended, the Senators told Hunt, who has two years left on his contract, they wanted him back, but they gave him time to decide if he wanted to make a permanent move to Binghamton.
"We've left it up to him to decide if he wants to move his family there," said Murray, who oversees the Binghamton team. He was disappointed Binghamton didn't make the playoffs, but couldn't point fingers. If the parent club hadn't had such a bad year and taken Clouston, Bell, Lee and Shannon in an effort to right the ship, Binghamton would have made the playoffs.

If Curtis says he doesn't want to come back does it mean he is coming back to Regina. Is Parker waiting for Curtis to make his answer before he makes his answer regarding Derkatch? As I've stated before, I have nothing against Hunt but if the NHL came calling once, what's to say it doesn't come calling again and he bolts. Yes, Parker could get rid of Derkatch and bring in a Marc Habscheid who could leave for the NHL as well but even though Hunt is a quality coach it could just be a short-term solution. It begs the question would Derkatch return if offered an assistant coach position. That begs the question could an offensive minded person like Derkatch mesh with the defensive style Hunt preaches.


Lets go to the battle for Hockey's Holy Grail and it was drama abound on Wednesday night. I've heard a lot of people say the Carolina-New Jersey series has been the first round matchup because two of the four games went to O-T with a third one being . 2 seconds away from O-T, but that series doesn't compare to what is happening with the Flames and Hawks. What an entertaining Game 4 that was with the Flames winning 6-4 after blowing a 4-1 lead. Who's kidding who I thought Calgary was going to deliver a good old stomping to the Hawks, I went upstairs after Olli Jokinen scored to make it 4-1 midway through the 2nd and was shocked when I came back downstairs to watch the 3rd and see the game tied. Eric Nystrom sure reminds of you of his dad doesn't he. Not only does he look like Bob Nystrom but he scores big goals for his team just like his old man did with the Islanders. Nystrom getting the winner late in the 3rd---but it shouldn't have counted because of a hand pass in the Chicago end moments before the goal. This series has it all and I'm expecting two if not three more dandys before all is said and done.

The Montreal Canadiens 100th anniversary season ends with a whimper as the Habs lose 4-1 to Boston meaning a Bruins sweep. Carey Price did his best Patrick Roy imitation in this game as he gave the fans a salute after they got on his case when he made a routine save. Montreal fans want this kid to be the next Ken Dryden but if the organization isn't careful he will become the next Jose Theodore. I mentioned this earlier this week but it would behoove this team who has what looks to be a big rebuilding job to rid themselves of Price and give the starters job to Jaroslav Halak. Price would help the Habs get Vinnie Lecavalier as it would give Tampa the goalie they so desperately haven't had and a change of scenery may be something that gets Price back on top of his game. There are many teams that would love to have Price in their lineup. I'm guessing Bob Gainey will get his fair share of criticism over the next little bit. I don't know if he is to blame for this team falling apart but he has to take a major piece of the blame. Getting rid of Guy Carbonneau blew up in his face, not landing Lecavalier or any other big name at the trade deadline didn't help and now he must try and convince many free agents to return. Some of those free agents include Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek and Alex Tanguay. The window may have closed on this team for the foreseeable future.
Here's a question for you. Who has played better in this first round when it comes to goalies...Luongo or Lundqvist?? Yes Luongo has gotten his team into the 2nd round already but Lundqvist has been lights out for the Rangers. He was outstanding again in Game 4 as the Blueshirts come within one game of the 2nd round with a 2-1 win meaning they can wrap it up in DC on Friday. Say what you will about Luongo but I think Lundqvist has been the best player out of anyone in the first round and if you were to give a Conn Smythe trophy out at this point, it in my mind would go to the Ranger tender.
The Calgary Hitmen are now 12-0 in the WHL playoffs. They tied the record for a playoff win streak by winning the East with a 6-4 win over Brandon. The Hitmen getting goals from six different guys. That's what makes this team so good, they can get goals from anyone at anytime. It can be the first line or the fourth line, they seemingly can't be stopped and likely won't be until they are hoisting the Memorial Cup.
The Portage Terriers are one win away from going to the RBC Cup. The Manitoba Junior champs beating Humboldt for the second straight night at the Elgar Petersen arena as they take Game 4 4-1 and a 3-1 series lead. When is the last time a Manitoba team won the Anavet Cup??? It seems as if the SJHL team always wins the series between the two leagues to move on to the RBC.
How much longer can Jays manager Cito Gaston stick with BJ Ryan as his closer. Ryan blows another save last night as he gives up three in the 9th to the Texas Rangers but Toronto ends up getting the win as they win the game 8-7 in 11. Ryan has now blown two saves in four appearances. That simply is unacceptable and can't be tolerated---especially if those blown saves end up as losses to teams like the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees.
What the h-e double hockey sticks was happening in Regina yesterday. I look at the L-P website and see there were three incidents in which vehicles ran into buildings. One was at the Victoria East funeral home, one was at Queen City Glass and the other happened at Suds Car Wash. Did the 2o above weather send some into a state of delirium as they got behind the wheel. Speaking of which, you knew it was too good to last as the temperature will dip back into single digit highs for a few days now. Why?? What did we do to anger you Mother Nature???
Georges St. Pierre needs your help. The UFC welterweight champion from Montreal is looking for a logo.
To that end, the mixed martial arts star is asking fans to come up with a design that captures the 170-pound champion. The winning graphic will be displayed on his shorts and a banner at UFC 100 in July, be incorporated into his website and a new line of merchandise to debut in conjunction with the July fight against Thiago Alves.
St. Pierre plans to choose 10 designs and then have fans vote on which is the best.
For more information, go to
Why do I get the feeling that two readers of this blog may be submitting an entry. Am I right Tyler??? Am I right Cory???
Word has it the Tor Hill is opening for the year Friday morning and the Murray on Saturday. Word is Deer Valley will open May 1. What about Emerald Park or Aspen Links now I guess? How bout Flowing Springs??? I golfed Flowing Springs last season for the first time in a long time and that course simply killed me. I will get my revenge out there this year. In fact, I had just finished my round and was putting the clubs in the trunk ready to go for a cold one when my cellphone rang informing me Michael Bishop had been traded meaning yet another weekend was going up in smoke. Little did I know at that time that my weekend wasn't the only thing going up in smoke if you know what I mean.
I guess I should have warned you to have that cup of coffee ready to go before reading this this morning because there was a lot to get out there. I'll leave you with this. Who would win a catfight between Peggy Hill, Lois Griffin, Francine Smith and Marge Simpson? I'm leaning towards Francine because of the training that hubby Stan can give her.

Fanning The Flames

It would seem as if the Bombers are keen on keeping up the rivalry with the Riders by taking potshots. Here's what their new coach Mike Kelly had to say about the Riders at the team's AGM this week.

And, finally, as is customary at these kind of gatherings, there were also the usual shots at the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Regina, referred to by one fan as 'the crotch of Canada.' Later, coach Mike Kelly spoke of taking talent from the Edmonton Eskimos and Riders: "We kind of raided the toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada."

YAWWWWNNNNNN!!!!! The way this guy is running the Bombers, he will be lucky to be coaching this team by Labour Day when Loseipeg makes its annual visit.

More Brilliance From The NHL

I really don't understand the NHL at times. They do some things that make me just scratch my head. I'm not alone in that thinking. The latest----lets not give all the award nominees out on one day. Lets spread it out and turn it into an almost two week exercise. Why can't the league just do it all at one time. Who's kidding who, Americans aren't gathered by the watercooler talking about hockey right now. They are talking about the upcoming NFL draft, the NBA playoffs, baseball, NASCAR etc. etc. This isn't going to have people talking to one another or taking up sports talk segments on radio and there really is only one category people are interested in and thats MVP---an award that should go to Alexandre Ovechkin. Anyways, in the first of what will be a tiresome exercise, the finalists for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year are Steve Mason, Kris Versteeg and Bobby Ryan. Tomorrow, its the nominees for the Norris Trophy and so on and so on and so on and yeah I know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Canucks Are The First To Move On

Burying the Blues and moving on. That is what the Vancouver Canucks have done as they become the first team in the Stanley Cup playoffs to move into the 2nd round. They do so thanks to Alex Burrows. His goal with less than a minute to go in the first overtime gave Vancouver a 3-2 win over St. Louis and a series sweep. If Roberto Luongo continues playing the way he did in this series, Vancouver will be very, very tough.
A great back and forth game between the Sharks and Ducks but in the end, the Sharks get back into the series. They needed a win in Anaheim and they get it as they score a pair on the power-play for a 4-3 win. Patrick Marleau gets the boo-birds off his back but Joe Thornton remains a mystery....albeit he was better in Game 3 then he was in the first two games.

Columbus' first foray into the playoffs is looking like a short one. The Jackets just continue to be overwhelmed by the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit beats Columbus 4-1 to take a 3-0 lead in that series and chances are this series won't be going back to Joe Louis Arena.
New Jersey trailed 3-0 at one point only to tie the game and then lose with just .2 seconds left. In a series that has been the best one of the opening round, Jussi Jokinen tipped in a Dennis Seidenberg shot as the horn sounded to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 win. It did look like Jokinen interfered with Marty Brodeur just before the goal was scored but Brodeur was out of the crease when the collission occurred meaning both guys had a right to the spot. That means the series is tied at 2.
Pittsburgh has Philly on the ropes. They beat the Flyers 3-1 to take a 3-1 lead in that best of seven with Game 5 going in Pittsburgh.
Make it 11 wins in a row for the Calgary Hitmen. They had to go to overtime to beat Brandon 4-3. The win leaves Calgary one victory away from their 3rd straight sweep and a date in the finals. In the West, Vancouver leads 2-1 after a 3-2 win over Kelowna in Game 3. Lance Bouma was the hero for the Giants as he scores with just over a minute to play in regulation. I'm sure the last thing Vancouver wanted was to go to yet another overtime.
The Portage Terriers beat Humboldt 2-1 in overtime in Game 3 of the Anavet Cup. It means the Manitoba junior champs have a 2-1 series lead.
I talked about this kid last week but I gotta do it again. Patrick Schuster is a left handed pitcher who on Monday night struck out 17 in collecting his 4th straight no-hitter. His 4th straight!!! It is tough enough to throw one no-hitter but four in a row is unprecedented and has to go down in my mind as one of the greatest sporting feats to be achieved. Believe it or not, its not a record. Someone (I don't know who) has recorded 6 no-no's in a row while playing high school ball. During my years of ball I played in many one hitters---in fact I remember breaking one up but then we exploded for about 4 or 5 runs and I think it was only the 6th inning but whatever.
Some sad news from the NFL. I think we all remember William "The Refrigerator" Perry. He was one of the many characters on the Chicago Bears Super Bowl winning team of 1986. The big defensive lineman made a household name for himself when he became a short yardage back in goal-line situations scoring several touchdowns including one in the Super Bowl. That touchdown was later said to be the biggest coaching mistake in the career of Mike Ditka. Ditka admitting several years after the fact the ball should have went to Walter Payton. Payton played in that one Super Bowl and one only without scoring a touchdown in the one-sided romp over New England. Anyhow, Perry is listed in serious condition in a South Carolina hospital as he fights a battle with Guillain-Barre' disease. Guillain-Barré syndrome is "a disease in which the body damages its own nerve cells [outside of the brain and spinal cord], resulting in muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. GBS can last for weeks to months. Most people eventually recover completely or nearly completely, but some people have permanent nerve damage and between 5 percent and 6 percent of people who develop GBS die."Doctors do believe Perry will make a complete recovery.
Speaking of sad news, do you remember the WWE show "Maple Leaf Wrestling". It was one of those one hour shows produced way before shows like "RAW" and "Smackdown", It would have a superstar taking on some jobber. The jobber would get his 30 seconds of beatdown time on the star before getting destroyed. One of those jobbers was a guy named Ted Grizzly. His record had to equal that of the Washington Generals. One time he fought Hulk Hogan when the belt was on the line. Predictably Hulk won but I still think Ted got a fast count and was robbed. Anyhoo, Ted Grizzly died of diabetes on Tuesday at the age of 66. R-I-P Ted!!! Still with the WWE, I see they are having a Smackdown show in Edmonton this summer. Could they once again make a foray into Saskatchewan. Its been a long time. They were supposed to be here shortly after the Chris Benoit murder-suicide but that show was cancelled. They never have been back. Its been too long!!!!
The Bombers made money in 2008. The team announcing a profit of 761-thousand dollars in 2008 despite the disappointing on-field product. Compare that to a year in 2007 when they go to the Grey Cup (only of course to lose to Saskatchewan) and lose 263-thousand. One can only wonder how much of a profit the Riders will end up with when they have their AGM. Lets just say the team won't be needing any money anytime soon and with the rabid enthusiasm that has carried on through the off-season, the good times will continue to roll(at least financially) in Riderville.
Could Dale Hunter be the next coach of the Oilers????
Is it really supposed to be 25 degrees today??? Could this be the first Slurpee day of the year?? Will my neighbourhood 7-11 have a Dr. Pepper slurpee going or will it be something gross like banana besides the obligatory coke and grape. There truly is nothing better when it comes to slurpees than a Dr. Pepper slurpee. If you disagree then your opinion simply doesn't matter!

Not Changing Course

As you have read in a previous post, the Eric Tillman situation will drag on through at least the start of training camp. The Rider GM has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault and will have another court date in mid-June. Rider president and CEO Jim Hopson addressed the Regina media this afternoon and told everyone its business as usual. Hopson saying "Things are unfolding the way we thought they would. We always anticipated that this could be a lengthy process, given the precedent. We've expected that and we're still very comfortable with where we are at."
While E-T has not been at Mosaic Stadium and won't be until the matter has been cleared up, Hopson says he is still involved in the operations of the football team and that he remains our general manager.

I do applaud Hopson and the organization for taking this approach as they are taking the "you're innocent until proven guilty" stance. However, I do wonder if this can be detrimental for a football team as the situation hangs over their head. I think I speak for many when I say I want this terrible story to come to a conclusion and then let the cards fall where they may. However, having this hanging over the organization's head once the on-field product starts to do their thing could hurt. Hey, I guess it will give that certain aspect of "fans" a whipping boy and an excuse if the team doesn't do well.