Monday, March 16, 2009
A Clean Sweep--Again!!!
Photo of Kevin Martin rink courtesy Canadian Press
I don’t know what superlative you want to use when describing the performance of Kevin Martin and his Edmonton rink in last nite’s Brier final. The Martin foursome were virtually perfect in winning their 2nd straight Canadian mens curling championship with a 10-4 win over Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton in the final. It’s the 2nd year in a row Martin and his rink consisting of 3rd John Morris, 2nd Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert have been perfect as they have gone through the event the last two years undefeated. The 42 year old Martin –who I still say is a dead ringer for the guy in the Fountain Tire ads---joins Alberta's Randy Ferbey and Saskatchewan's Ernie Richardson as the only skips to win four Canadian championships. Martin won in 1991 and 1997 with different teammates and last year with his current squad.He's also the seventh skip to win back-to-back Canadian championships and the first since Ferbey in 2002-03. He will look to win the world championship in Moncton next month. The way the Martin foursome has played one has to consider them as perhaps the greatest curling team in the history of Canadian mens curling. Yes you have the Richardsons, the Campbells, the Ferbey rink and some others but Martin and company stand head and shoulders over the rest. There is simply no shot that this foursome can’t make no matter the end, no matter the situation.
The U of R Cougars had many thinking about a major upset when they beat the heavily favoured University of Alberta Golden Bears in Game 1 of their best of 3 mens hockey semi-final but the Bears roared back to take the series as they win it with a convincing 7-1 win in the 3rd and deciding game of the best of 3. They will once again meet the U of S to determine who is the Canada West champ.
As mentioned in the last post, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince Albert Raiders will play Tuesday in P-A to see who gets the right to likely get swept by Calgary in the first round of the WHL playoffs. The Oil Kings lost to Red Deer 2-1 in their last game of the year---a game in which they needed just one point to clinch the 8th and final spot. I gotta think the edge goes to the Raiders in this one game tiebreaker. Other East matchups will see Saskatoon against Lethbridge, Brandon playing Kootenay and Swift Current battling Medicine Hat. Western Division matchups have not been confirmed yet seeing the Spokane Chiefs must make up two games after having them postponed on the weekend due to several players suffering a bad case of food poisoning, We do know Vancouver will skate with Prince George and Tri-Cities will take on Everett but the 3-6 and 4-5 matchups haven’t been determined yet.
It didn’t take long for the Pats to clean out the locker-room. They did so Sunday afternoon before heading out after a disappointing year. Victor Bartley is off to Providence of the American Hockey League(Bostons affiliate) while Jordan Eberle will likely be off to Springfield (Edmonton’s AHL affiliate) Colten Teubert, Matt Delahey, Linden Rowat and Brett Leffler are still awaiting word from their NHL teams to see if they have more hockey in them this year. Make no doubt about it Pats fans, it is going to be a long off-season and when these guys come back for next year it will be a different looking team from coach on down. Dale Derkatch will be back and will be a better coach than next year and several who are eligible to come back next year simply won’t be. The question now is will Leffler be back as a 20…I would think so. Will Rowat be back as a 20…I would think not and will Delahey be back as a 20…I would think yes. Will Teubert and Eberle be back…I would think yes on both and that is no slight to either but I believe another year of junior will help both immensely. Make no doubt about it, this Pats team will be back with a vengeance in 2009-2010. Do they have enough to win an Eastern Division crown next season---its far too early to talk about that right now.
The Detroit Red Wings are the first team to hit the 100 point mark in the NHL. They do that Sunday with a 4-0 win over Columbus to give them 101 points. It’s the 9th straight year they have had at least 100 points. The Sharks also getting to 100 after a 1-0 win over Anaheim. Boston could have hit the 100 point plateau but they are stuck at 99 after losing 6-4 to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. By the way, how about Regina’s Chris Kunitz. He has been dynamite since coming to Pittsburgh from the Ducks at the trade deadline. Kunitz had a pair yesterday giving him 11 points in nine games since joining the team.
Not only will Toronto NFL fans get a chance to see Terrell Owens next year but they will also apparently see Peyton Manning. Word is the Colts will face the Bills in the NFL regular season game played at Rogers Centre. A much more attractive team than the Dolphins were last year. That being said, I’m guessing Peyton and company might be the fan favourite on whatever day that game is played. Not much of a homefield advantage…then again as long as the $$$$$ are coming in that’s all that matters isn’t it. It’s the mantra of one organization I know.
Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and North Carolina are the number 1 seeds for March Madness. One of these four teams will win the NCAA mens basketball championship. I’ll give you my final four later this week.
Phil Mickleson is making everyone think he is ready to challenge Tiger again. Lefty wins the C-A championship for his 2nd win in the last 3 starts. Tiger was eight shots back.