(photo courtesy Canadian Press)
An event that I never ever thought would come back to Saskatchewan begins today. I believed the World Juniors had grown to such a magnitude that it had outgrown this province. Its another sign as to how this province is flourishing on a national scale. Some of the best hockey you might see live for a long time begins at both the Brandt Centre in Regina and Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon today. Many of the players you see on the different surfaces will be players that will move on into the NHL. The passion and desire these kids will bring is second to none. It is one of the best sporting events in the world as far as I'm concerned and it is right here.
With all apologies to fans of Canadian hockey, the lid-lifter for the host team shouldn't be much of a game as the Latvians provide the opposition. Mind you, Latvia did upset Russia in a pre-tournament game in Swift Current. Some believe the game between the Canadians and the Cougar/Husky squad will be of better calibre than what this afternoon's game will be because of the Latvians, but we all know you don't play the game on paper.
Bottom line here is an event like this doesn't come around every day, so get out there and enjoy it even if you only take in a game.
Was Santa good to you? Do you have any desire to eat today after stuffing yourself with turkey? Was it a quiet Christmas or a hectic one? Whatever the answers are, its all over now and its now either time to put use to some of those presents you got, or perhaps head out and find some Boxing Day specials---maybe both if you received gift cards to clothing places. Is today wilder in the malls than it is in the days leading up to Christmas? I think it is because now you are shopping for you and not someone else.
A lot of people in NFL circles want to see a Colts-Saints Super Bowl. I really believe San Diego is going to throw a monkeywrench into those plans. I don't think there is a better team in the league right now than the Chargers who eviscerated Tennessee last night. Why isn't Phillip Rivers mentioned when it comes to MVP candidates? I said it once before this year and I will say it again. The best running back in the NFL is not Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, its Chris Johnson of the Titans. Were it not for Tennessee's 0-6 start, I would think Johnson would have to get some serious consideration for MVP.
The coach of the NBA's Orlando Magic is ticked off because his team has to play on the holiday. Stan Van Gundy doesn't think the league should play on Christmas Day. In fact, he says he feels sorry for people who have nothing better to do than watch the NBA on Christmas Day. Hey Stan, is that a way to talk about your fans that sold out your arena for yesterday's game against Boston. All 5 of the NBA games were sold out last night and it looked like there weren't many empty seats at the football game. I don't think there is anything wrong with playing a professional sports game on Christmas Day. What else are the men going to do while the wives and relatives and significant others are getting the meal prepared? Yeah, they might do the dishes later, but they aren't going to sit there and watch Miracle on 34th Street or some other Christmas programming that has dominated the airwaves for the last 3 weeks. The NBA showcases its marquee teams(although why did the Clippers play yesterday) and players on Christmas Day. They know people will be watching. Bah Humbug to you Mr. Van Gundy.
As we now start the roll towards New Years and a new decade, many are starting their best of the decade features. My poll question asks what team do you think was the best during the last 10 years. (Somehow the Leafs didn't make it to that category, but they weren't the worst either). TSN's That's Hockey asks who was the best hockey player in the last 10 years. I would argue Joe Thornton. The Bruins/Sharks forward has an MVP and a scoring title along with leading the league in assists and points during the last 10 years. The only thing is his numerous playoff failures. I can't put Sid or Ovie in there because they didn't play the whole decade. If Thornton isn't the guy, perhaps its Brodeur and maybe its the New Jersey goalie ahead of everyone else anyhow because of his track record. Who would your choice be?
I'll have the NFL pix for this week up later today. I've got to get ready to head to the rink. I'll be calling the Austria-Russia game on fasthockey.com with the loquacious Pete Paczko of Access 7 fame. Is the world ready for us? Its my only hope Pete doesn't create an international incident today. He will if he wears lederhosen to the booth in support of the Austrians. For those who know Pete and just got a mental image in their mind of that and have spewed coffee or something else on their keyboard and screen, I do humbly apologize.
Finally, just a little seasonal tune from two people I never ever thought would get together for anything. Who thought up this idea?
Hope to see you at the rink. If you're going, buy a 50-50. Those jackpots have been huge. That could make the bill-paying after Christmas a whole lot easier.