Saturday, January 15, 2011
Great Ceremony, Bad Game
Say what you will about the Parker family when it comes to the Regina Pats, but one thing that can't be denied is they do it right when it comes to honoring the tradition of the team that they own and the players that have put this team on the map.
It was a very classy ceremony at the Brandt Centre as Mike Sillinger saw his number 16 jersey retired. Jamie Heward and Frank Kovacs were on hand as was former Pats coach Billy Moores who was representing the Oilers--the team Mike now works for. Kind words were shown over the video screen from people like Steve Tambellini, Mike's mom and dad, his wife and kids, Dale Derkatch and Jordan Eberle. One of Mike's kids said he wished he could have seen his dad play as a Pat. There are many kids out there who should be saying the same thing or asking mom and dad about him and the career he had.
The game started off fine, but the wheels started to fall off midway through the first. Regina got down 2-1 after one and 3-1 after two. They just didn't look into it. I don't know if Edmonton lulled them into sleep or what it was, but this team just didn't have the spark or the energy that was needed to get them going. The urgency factor isn't there quite yet when it comes to the playoffs, but you need a little more jump when you are so close to that spot. You can't be giving up home games to teams you need to beat to get into the playoffs and Edmonton is one of those teams. Red Deer is here tonight and that will be a tough one. Its a chance to see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins play. He is likely a top 5 NHL draft pick this year. If not 5, then 10 for sure.
I know he was the whipping boy for much of the Rider Nation this year and yes, his unit was a weak spot this year, but I still feel bad for Jim Daley that he has been let go by the football team. Jim is one of the "genuine" nice guys in the CFL. In fact, he might be the nicest guy I know in all of my time covering the league. He is a guy that always sought me out no matter what team he was involved in or even when he worked for the league. He is a straight shooter and he is overall, a good person. The special teams play under him this year was less than satisfactory--especially in the return game. Is it time for Jim to retire and settle down at home with family. I don't think that is what he wants. I'm sure he will be back in the CFL soon and when he is, I'm sure when he sees me, he will yell out "SCRUFFY!!!!". I did a handful of interviews for both Riderville and CKRM this year where you could hear him yell that as he was going by with a big smile on his face. He actually didn't know about the "Scruffy" nickname until he was on "The Sportscage" one afternoon and Rod referred to me as that. He absolutely loved it and made sure he used it as many times as he could from that time.
Its fitting that the colours of the Ravens and Steelers are purple and black and black and yellow. Those are the colours of a bruise and I'm guessing every player that takes the field this afternoon in Pittsburgh will have a large bruise of some kind after getting into another physical war with one another. There might not be a better rivalry in football right now. These two teams are almost mirror images of one another. Expect this one to come right down to the end as the last umpteen battles between the two have. As much as I hate to say it, I gotta take the Steelers because there is just something about them at playoff time and as you know, I DO NOT LIKE THE STEELERS!!
The game tonight between the Packers and Falcons intrigues me. I think it will be the best one of the four this weekend. If this game was in Green Bay, I would think the Falcons are in trouble. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are a very good team and they will give Atlanta a battle, but in the end I just see the Falcons being a little bit better. America may just find out tonight how good of a quarterback Matt Ryan is and that he can perhaps be considered in the same category as Aaron Rodgers.
I think its safe to say that we are all sick of the snow. I'm sure the city feels that way. I have seen graders and sanders on the streets, but it seems that everytime it snows, the city's removal plan goes back to square one. They need to keep the sidestreets clean as well. There are many of them that are in bad shape. How much snow have we gotten this winter anyhow? It seems to me as if this is way more than what we have had in the past few years. I'm running out of room. I hope the spring melt is a slow one.
Have a good Saturday and be careful out there!