Friday, January 9, 2015
This And That
Its the usual weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain in no particular order
The Regina Pats shuffled their roster around and then some. Those who are upset with what was done over the past week may want to revisit those comments in two years time. I still don't agree with the return in the Morgan Klimchuk trade as I thought they could have gotten a little more, but I love the other deals---especially the one with Red Deer. From all accounts, 15 year old Jake Leschyshyn is a player and how the Pats got him for Connor Gay and some picks amazes me. Leschyshyn is a guy who could be a first round NHL pick as well and he has the right hockey pedigree, as his dad Curtis was no slouch. John Paddock and Queen City Sports and Entertainment are not afraid to do what the past regime did----they will make deals to make this team better in the long run.
Still with the Pats, did anyone catch former Pat Lyndon Byers on TV the other night when he called teammate Dale Derkatch the best player ever in the Canadian Hockey League. Quite an endorsement for "The Rat". One can only wonder if he would have had an NHL career if the small player of today was around when it came time for him to turn pro. Dare I say he could have been like Martin St. Louis.
From all accounts, the new coach of the University of Regina Rams hit one out of the park in his first address to the team. Word is he changed any and all attitudes for the better with his address to the squad. That's a good sign. I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that speech. I don't know what Mike Gibson is going to do when it comes to his staff, but he hope he retains guys like Bernie Schmidt and Paul Dawson for at least one year so there is some transition there from old to new. There are many volunteer coaches who have sacrificed a lot for the program and I don't know if they will have a role next season and beyond, but Bernie and Paul deserve one more year. It also sounds as if he is ready to pick up the torch from Frank McCrystal when it comes to the rivalry with the Huskies. Gibson referred to them as "the school from the north" at his introductory press conference Thursday afternoon.
Still with the Rams, receiver Addison Richards joined Pete Paczko and I on Access 7's Locker Talk as he prepares to get ready to head down to the East-West Shrine Bowl. You can't not want to cheer for this kid to succeed. He has the size, hands and talent to be a great CFL receiver, but truthfully I would like to see him take a shot in the NFL. I am hoping he turns some eyes down in Orlando where he will be coached by former Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn. That is Seahawks royalty ladies and gentlemen. He will be catching passes from Arizona State's Taylor Kelly and South Carolina's Dylan Thompson who both had nice bowl performances. I'd like to know if those guys are on the neg list of any CFL teams because both could play north of the border.
It didn't take long for Dominic Picard to find work and frankly, I didn't think it would. In fact, there were two teams where I thought he would end up and that was Ottawa and Winnipeg. He will certainly help the o-line there and if Winnipeg throws the rumoured dollars at Ben Heenan and he accepts, it could mean Picard and Heenan would join former Rider Patrick Neufeld to form what would be a nice offensive line for Drew Willy to work with.
There are some wondering why the Riders would release Picard and ask is A) Corey Watman ready and B) is it to dump a load of money on Brett Jones' driveway. I would go with A. The team hopes Watman can step in because Picard was just too expensive to keep around. Picard's money can be used to keep a younger Ben Heenan, a defensive stalwart in Tyron Brackenridge or a star like Weston Dressler. I would bet he isn't the only veteran who will be deemed too expensive in the coming weeks as we approach free agency. As for Jones, if you see him in the CFL again it will be around Labour Day and I doubt very much as if it will be in green.
Today is the last day on the job for CFL commissioner Mark Cohon. I wonder how long it will be before the league finds his replacement and I wonder just what that replacement will be like and what his vision for the league is like. I think its safe to say the CFL has not had a more charismatic commish than Cohon and in the end, he did a lot more for the league which was good than bad.
With Cohon gone, does this the mean the end of Twitter account "Fake Mark Cohon"? If it does, he went out with a dandy today. The tweet read "The RedBlacks are gearing up to make a run at both SJ Green and Weston Dressler... Burris thinks he'll look great overthrowing them."
If you are a fan of the Montreal Expos, you have to love the fact Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson are going to the Hall of Fame. What other former Expos would you put in? I would put Larry Walker on the list, but that's about it. Gary Carter and Andre Dawson are already there so who else?
You can't give the braintrust of the Edmonton Oilers a lot of credit for what they have done, but is it safe to say they got the better of the deal with the Penguins by getting a 1st round pick AND Rob Klinkhammer for David Perron. I didn't think Perron would get back a first rounder, but somehow GM Craig MacTavish convinced the Penguins to give him one. I would have been ecstatic to see Derrick Pouliot somehow move to Northern Alberta in that trade, but Jim Rutherford isn't that stupid.
If you've somehow missed it, Tiger Williams is the newest addition to 620 CKRM's Sportscage. The number one sports show in Saskatchewan will hear from perhaps the toughest S-O-B to ever lace up a pair of skates every Wednesday on MAACO Hockey Wednesday when he discusses the major topic in the game with Rod Pedersen. Tiger will be outstanding and you know he will hold nothing back. There's a reason we're #1. We just keep assembling top-notch talent. If the station could just find a decent host when Pedersen is on holidays they would be laughing.
Is it safe to say Max Domi got the hands of his mother? There's not many things better in Canadian sports than watching a group of hockey players sing O'Canada with a gold medal around their neck is there? Monday's WJHC final was indeed another battle between Canada and Russia, but it was far from the best game between the two at any level of competition as some suggested.
It gets down to the nitty gritty of the NFL playoffs this weekend. The Seahawks should deliver a spanking to Carolina at CenturyLink. I can't see Indy beating Denver in Denver, the Patriots will be hard-pressed to beat Baltimore, but they will somehow find a way to sneak by and Green Bay and Dallas should give us a dandy. I don't know how Dallas' secondary finds a way to cover both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb so I will give this one to the Packers.
There's a lot more I could go with, but maybe I'll save it for Monday's column. Have a great weekend Saskatchewan! Stay safe and stay warm.