(Darian Durant picture courtesy Darian Durant/Facebook
--From the sounds of it, the fears of Darian Durant still being bothered by his injured throwing elbow can be laid to rest. The Leader-Post's Murray McCormick and 620 CKRM's Rod Pedersen both reported over the weekend that the Rider quarterback appears to be throwing the football with no problems and he appears to be 100 percent. That is great news for the Rider Nation. While many out there scoff at the idea, I am certain had Durant not been injured in Winnipeg that the Riders would have been at and likely would have won the Grey Cup. While many do disagree with that notion, there are others who wholeheartedly agree and no their names aren't Taman, Reynolds and O'Day. Yes, I think many fans will still hold their breath when Darian takes that first good shot of the season--which he will. However, it would appear all is good going into training camp and that a big question can be erased off the board.
--The Regina Pats knew they were the underdog going into Round 2 against Brandon and they knew things were going to have to go their way. I think a lot of people thought the team could gain a split in the Manitoba city, but that didn't happen. I didn't see a lick of action nor did I hear a lot of it from Phil Andrews over the weekend on 620 CKRM, but it was obvious by looking at the scores that Brandon was the better team. It also sounds like they got the bounces one need to win games at this time of year as well. The pressure will be on Paddock's proteges Tuesday night at the Brandt Centre. I hope a near sell-out crowd is there to greet them and cheer them on.
--A Flames-Canucks first round matchup brings no excitement at all to this blogger. Can't stand either team. At least one will be out after Round 1. That being said. there are many Calgary and Vancouver hockey fans in this town, so have fun with one another during the opening round.
--The Winnipeg Jets will face Anaheim. I would have loved to see them play St. Louis after that great contest in St. Louis the other night. Anything can happen in the first round and Anaheim was only 10 points better in the regular season. It will be a good series. By the way, tickets in Anaheim on Seatgeek for Games 1 and 2 will set you back 44. In Winnipeg, its said to be over 700.
--It's nice to see the Ottawa Senators get into the playoffs because of Bryan Murray. We all know the battles the Senators GM and former Pats coach is going through and this might be his last chance to see his team in the playoffs. They will be in tough against Montreal.
--What was Ottawa's record when Dave Cameron took over for Paul McLean?
--I wonder if Steve Yzerman will be conflicted somewhat as Detroit plays Tampa in the first round. I'm sure it will be very odd for Stevie Y to sit in the Joe Louis Arena for a playoff game and not have his loyalties lying with the Wings.
--Say what you want about Johnny Gaudreau and Aaron Ekblad, but the rookie of the year is Mark Stone.
--Who had Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars winning the NHL scoring title? If you put money down on him in Vegas, you are a rich man today.
--Stanley Cup prediction and there is no rhyme or reason to this---Anaheim and Washington! Ducks take it all. UPDATE: With Patrick Kane returning to Chicago for Game 1, I now say Chicago takes the Cup----still over Washington!
--Boston University goalie Matt O'Connor will not want to be remembered for his last college game.
What a horrible goal to give up. Somewhere Dan Cloutier smiles!
--Jordan Spieth made the Masters very anti-climactic this year as he went from wire-to-wire to pick up his first green jacket. The kid was leaking oil near the end of Saturday's round, but his 3rd shot from the gallery resulted in a great save for par which may have been the end of the tournament as he never looked back on Sunday. In the last four tournaments he has played, he has two firsts and two seconds. Not bad!
--Troy Polamulu of the Steelers retired on Friday. Ronnie Lott is maybe the greatest safety to ever play the game, but Polamulu has to rank up there and remember this comes from someone who is not a Steelers fan. He is a first ballot hall of famer, but here's the question----would you rather have had him or Ed Reed of the Ravens? There's a great debate!
--Very interesting story about the Blue Jays in Saturday's Leader-Post. A poll taken across Canada asked who was your favourite baseball team and with the exception of Windsor, who understandably took Detroit, the vote went to Toronto. However, only 48 percent of those who voted via the LP's website said the Blue Jays. The question then is to Reginans and those in southern Sask, who is your team? The Yankees? The Red Sox? The Twins? The Cardinals? Are there more Cubs fans in Regina than I think? Who is it?
--TSN curling analyst Cheryl Bernard is going to spend her summer climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. YIKES!!! She did a great job with Vic and Russ this year and I hope she is made a permanent addition to the crew.
--A fabulous dinner was put on by the Regina Rams on Saturday night. Jesse Palmer of ESPN was the guest speaker and he was fine as he told stories about his days at the University of Florida and the NFL. He also spoke some about being "The Bachelor", but I don't watch that show and while I know the premise, I have no idea who he ended up with or what happened on the year he was on the show so it was fine with me that he didn't talk a lot about it. It shouldn't have surprised me that there were a lot of ladies in the crowd. There's a lot of excitement about the program this year under first year coach Mike Gibson. We will find out in a few months what he is going to deliver.
--The Stanley Cup playoffs are here and playoff drafts aplenty have started or will be happening Monday or Tuesday night. The next two months should be a lot of fun.
Have a good week!