Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Russian For "Wow"

I have been going to hockey games at the Agridome/Brandt Centre for years, but I can't recall seeing a goaltending performance like the one I and a nearly sold out rink was treated to yesterday by Anaheim draft pick Igor Bobkov. There aren't enough words to describe how brilliant Bobkov was as he stole one from Finland single-handedly. Bobkov stopping 46 shots --23 in the 3rd period as the Russians beat Finland 2-0 in a game they didn't deserve to win. The Finns outhustled, outskated, outshot, outeverythinged the Russians, but they didn't outscore them.
Some people told me after the game they remember former Pats goalie Josh Harding stopping 50 some shots in a win over Brandon, but I don't remember that. I've seen guys like Grant Fuhr, Mike Vernon, Ken Wregget, Ron Hextall, Trevor Kidd, Cam Ward, etc, etc, etc do their thing in that rink along with Pat goalies like Jamie Reeve and Harding, but I've never seen a performance like what Bobkov gave us.
What made it sad was when the game was over, the player of the game for the Russians was Nikita Filatov. My Access 7 colour man Kelly Remple was doing the game with me on and he just about exploded(well OK he did explode) when Filatov was named the game star. The crowd booed the decision as well they should. We find out after that the teams select their star of the game meaning the Russian brass in attendance chose Filatov over Bobkov. That might be the biggest head-scratcher I've seen in a long time. Was that just an ordinary stroll through the park for Bobkov, I'm thinking not!
TSN's James Duthie mentioned yesterday there were empty seats at Credit Union Centre for yesterday's Canada game against Switzerland. That is truly sad! I don't care if Switzerland is a team you are going to mop the floor with. There is no reason why CUC shouldn't be sold out for every Canadian game. Then again when you consider the game was at 3 o'clock on a Monday afternoon. I've heard a lot of complaints about this tournament and one of them was the start times and the fact that people in Regina who want to watch Canada are stuck missing part of their game or missing part of the game at the Brandt Centre. I don't know how that could have been alleviated, but with one game going on yesterday, why was faceoff at 3 when it could have been at 7? If CUC isn't sold out for the New Year's Eve game between the US and Canadians, then move the rest of the event down here where people are embracing the hockey at the Brandt Centre. It might have taken some time to realize it, but they are watching some world class hockey thanks to the Russians, Swedes, Finns and yes, even the plucky Austrians.
That sound of a bubble bursting may well be that of the Minnesota Vikings. They lose in overtime 36-30 to the lowly Bears last nite as Jay Cutler finally looked like the Jay Cutler Chicago fans were hoping for when they picked him in that trade with the Broncos. Cutler has been a joke this year, but he wasn't last night throwing for 4 TD's. The Vikings have descended into one of the ordinary teams from one of the elite over the last month. If they don't clinch the number 2 seed, there is no hope of them advancing to the Super Bowl.
Canada picks its Olympic hockey team tomorrow. The debate is in full swing now. I'll give you my picks later and I'm sure they won't match up with what Steve Yzerman tells us.
If you're reading this in Regina, I'll likely see you at the rink. Have a good one!


Anonymous said...

Never mind the Brandt Centre. That performance might have been one of the best all-time at the World Juniors. The crowd was just waiting for one to get by him to erupt. Can't wait to see Sweden-Russia tonight.

Chris G

Steve Walsh said...

Mitchell, here's a simple lesson for you: 15,000 > 6,000.

I know you're from Regina, so it may take awhile for you to comprehend this, but the crowds in Saskatoon set two attendance records on the weekend, the first for the US/Switzerrland game. Plus, if you would have bothered to check, the medal round games and the US/Canada game are all but sold out (that's 15,000 here in Saskatoon, not your meager 6,000).

It's pretty simple: even without selling out the games, Saskatoon has puts over twice as many fans in our arena that Regina can with a sellout. And this is at 3:00 on a Monday afternoon playing a team that can barely skate, and with the cheapest ticket at over $63! Regina, meanwhile, can't even sell 6,000 tickets to an excellent Russia/Finland match!

Saskatoon has team Canada, the far better facility, and the national exposure. Regina should be happy with what you have and stop complaining (for once).

Mike from Vita, MB said...

Even if the Canada-Swiss game wasn't sold out, what was the attendance? Is it more than the Brandt Centre can hold? If Regina wanted the Canada games, it should have the bigger stadium. Time for a new arena in Regina?

Gord said...

Hey Steve

I am stunned you know the word comprehend, someone must have written that for you from Regina. Second if Saskatoon is so great why do you give us Drew Remenda and you have to get a proper sports report from someone in Regina. The CUC was probably sold out but the engineering genesis behind the CUC only gives you 2 entrances so everyone is still probably stuck in traffic or dead after getting hit crossing the highway.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve:
Lets face the facts. It is absolutely embarassing Saskatoon can't sell out Canadian games no matter the opposition. They didn't have that problem in Ottawa or Vancouver did they. Why is that? Before you call your mom to get the answer, its because Saskatoon is a terrible sports city. You can't even support the Blades when they are winning. You whine about the Rams having the 50/50 in Regina, all you go out for is U of S football and even then you don't really support it.
If Canada was playing their tournament games in Regina, I know damn well every seat would be sold and then some while in Saskatoon you would have maybe 3500 tops to watch the other pool which is far better hockey. Face it Steve, there is only one sports city in this province and it isn't Saskatoon!!! Oh yeah, if you are going this is just someone from Regina spouting off, know that I moved here from Saskatoon 4 years ago so I know what I'm talking about when I says Saskatoon is a crap sports city.

Doug Gillespie

Anonymous said...

Drew Remenda is from Saskatoon? I thought he was from San Jose!

Jeff said...

Hey Doug,

Who cares if Regina would sell out every game? You'd still have at least 5,000 less people at every game than you would for the games in Regina.

BTW, the non-Canada games have also had more people attending than can be fit in the Brandt Centre.

Next time, before you spout off about what you "know", you should check some facts...

And Mitch, as for the arenas (both of them) not being sold out, I place most of the blame on the organizers and whoever designed the horrendous ticket sales approach. It's pretty bad that individual tickets only went on sale with less than a month to go before the puck dropped. I understand part of the rationale (fear of not selling tickets for the non-Canada games in Saskatoon), but I think the ticket sales would have been better if more of the different ticket packages sold were offered earlier as opposed to the piece meal approach that was used.