Friday, April 7, 2017
This And That
Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--Do you think NHL commissioner Gary Bettman even realizes what he has done when it comes to saying the NHL won't be at the next winter Olympics? First off, as many players have already alluded to, I think Bettman is bluffing hoping the IOC bows to the league's demands. However, if the NHL doesn't go to South Korea, it will have a devastating impact on the game.
Yes, the NHL is the only league that sends its athletes to the games that disrupts their season, however, the end result is growing the game and growing the game is by seeing the world's best competing against one another in what has become the "ultimate" tournament. To not be there is farcical! How do you think the league's American TV partner, NBC, feels knowing it pumped a lot of money into Pyongchang and that part of that package will be second rate hockey. And yes, second rate hockey it will be. Hockey Canada has said it will look at Canadian players playing hockey in Europe, Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you don't watch the Spengler Cup at Christmas time, and it rarely gets mentioned, but that is who you will be pinning your gold medal hopes on.
What if players like Alexander Ovechkin say screw it, I'm going. Several other Europeans have uttered the same sentiment. Europeans are more stoked for the Olympics than they are the Stanley Cup, That is fact! They would rather have a gold medal hanging around their neck having led their country to the Olympic title than bringing the trophy back to Washington, Pittsburgh, Montreal or Toronto. North American players don't feel that way because the Stanley Cup is something they have wanted their name on since they started taking up the sport.
Now, NHLPA kingpin Donald Fehr, who has no problems in kissing a season goodbye if that is what it takes( right baseball fans??? More particularly, right Montreal Expos fans? ) is indicating this could be huge when it comes to negotiating a new deal when the current CBA runs out. Fehr will want to be reminded that before saying no to South Korea, Bettman told the PA it would green-light participation if the players agreed to extend the current CBA by three years and eliminate a potential opt-out clause in the fall of 2019 and that had the players agreed, the current CBA would have been extended until 2025.
At the end of this day, it would seem as if the NHL and the NHLPA want "The World Cup of Hockey' to be the be-all, end-all when it comes to hockey tournaments. I don't know if that's what the hockey fan wants, but then again I don't know if any league really wants what the fan wants despite the assurances that they give us.
--Of course, NHL participation in the Olympics is not what hockey fans in Regina are thinking about at this time, It is Round 2 of the WHL playoffs that started last night with the Pats taking on the Swift Current Broncos much to the disgust of those in Moose Jaw. What happened to the Warriors? The team was never the same after losing both ends of a home-and-home to the Pats. It seemed to blow up at the end when Tim Hunter's attempts to get two of his top players--Noah Gregor and Jayden Halbgewachs to get their game in gear failed. Is that a coach thing? Is that a player thing? The Warriors have the talent to be next year what the Pats are this. A divide has seemingly occurred though. It will be interesting to see what happens over the summer. In the meantime, Moose Jaw fans can watch the Pats bus roll through townand the Broncos bus roll through town knowing what was a season of promise failed miserably.
--And finally, let's get to Game 1 of the Pats-Broncos series and in the words of the immortal Ed Whalen, it was "a ring a ding dong dandy". Midway through the 3rd period, I sent out a tweet saying if SC scores before regulation, it could be a long night at the Brandt Centre. Lane Pederson kept everyone in their seats with a goal at the 19:21 mark of the 3rd setting it up for Ryley Lindgren's game winner in overtime as the Broncos take Game 1. Make no doubt about it, Swift Current has shown the Pats they aren't happy to be here after what they did to the Warriors. The Pats are in for a much bigger battle than what Calgary gave them. That was evident 10 minutes into Period 1. Game 2 will have the Pats in a spot they haven't been in all year----a spot where they need a win. The sticks will become a lot tighter if they go to the Credit Union I-Plex down 2. Playoff hockey....isn't it great!
--With the Pats doing what they are doing with expectations being it will continue until late May, has your fascination with the Riders and their day-to-day business waned any? The Pats are in the spotlight at this time of year and they deserve it. We had our Rider fix and our CFL fix during CFL Week so let''s allow the Pats to have their moment. Of course, those in Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Prince Albert likely disagree and the same could be said for Swift Current unless referring to the Broncos.
-- When the NHL season ended last year, I wondered aloud how the last game at Rexall Place could be between the Oilers and Canucks. The Flames or the Islanders would have made a much better opponent on that night. As they prepare to close the books on the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit this weekend, the history book will show the Wings last game there was against the New Jersey Devils. The Devils? Wouldn't an Original Six team be a better opponent or perhaps Colorado considering the wars had in that building between those two teams.
--At this time next week, we will see Connor McDavid's playoff beard. It can't look any worse than Sidney Crosby's at that age can it? Somehow, I think it will.
--Memo to Sportsnet: Please get rid of those two buffoons you have talking about watching the Blue Jays anywhere. Those guys can go with the two idiots in the Burger King ad and disappear from our lives at any time.
--Congratulations to ALL U of R athletes for another great season in representing both the university and this city. Win or lose, these student-athletes deserve major appreciation for what they do during their respective seasons as they balance academics with athletics. Thanks to all the guys and girls who wear that Cougar (and Ram) logo proudly!
--It would appear Pepsi learned nothing from its failed endeavour at the World Juniors when it was here with that stupid chant idea. Oh Pepsi, you need better people to approve your ad campaigns. Don't change the product though!
--If CBS is doing a Cowboys game this year and something happens to Dak Prescott, will Tony Romo leave the booth to take over in the huddle? How does CBS jusify putting Romo, who has never done a TV game in his life, on the number one team. I'm guessing Phil Simms is not impressed with this. I'm not pro-Simms or anti-Simms, but he deserves better than to be yanked from alongside Jim Nantz for Romo.
--That's all I got. See ya at the rink tonight! Have a great weekend!!