Friday, April 30, 2010
How are you doing in your hockey drafts? If you took Capitals, I'm sure you are fuming. I went into my draft thinking it would be a Chicago-Buffalo final, but with Sabres disappearing left, right and center, I had to go for the 2nd tier of Penguin players available. I ended up with four of them, Jordan Staal, Jordan Leopold, Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy. The hockey gods have obviously discovered this and are systematically taking these guys out.
Andy Sutton is responsible for two of them. His hit on Kennedy in Game 2 of the Ottawa series left him with a leg injury---an injury that he has not returned from. Sutton then laid out Leopold in Game 3 of that series meaning I was down two.
Thus imagine my joy Friday night as I watched Jordan Staal leave with what is being described as a high ankle sprain. Those can keep you out of the lineup for a while too. As I said, if Pascal Dupuis should be injured for a length of time, you can blame it on me. I have somehow angered the hockey gods.
As for Game 1, the Canadiens couldn't match the formula of success that they had against Washington against Pittsburgh. Well, Jaroslav Halak didn't. Montreal didn't really play much worse than they had against Washington, they just didn't get the same effort from their goalie. Halak looked human as Pittsburgh took the opener 6-3.
Game 1 of the WHL final was a one-sided affair. The Hitmen stormed out of the gate to take a 4-0 lead as they crushed Tri-Cities 7-0. Lets hope its not like this for the whole series.
Word has it the establishment of a full-fledged grocery store at Walmart in the south end is kicking the crap out of other grocery stores across Regina and not just the south end. It would seem as if Safeway has lowered their prices. Sobeys is doing what they can too. Is Superstore? I don't often go for groceries there so I wouldn't know.
My good friend "Mongo" has sent me the following link. Try this for breakfast...
This caught me off guard. The Nielsen company in the U-S took a poll asking what major league baseball team is hated the most. Calls were made to all states with many people being asked. So what team is most despised. If you guessed the Yankees, you would be wrong. Same if you said the Red Sox. If you answered, the Cleveland Indians, you would be right. Cleveland? It brings up a great question. That question being what team do you hate the most. I'm guessing Rider fans would say Calgary or BC. I'm interested in knowing what team you can't stand so if you don't mind, leave it in the comments section.
I have no problem with Friday's Sunshine Girl. No problem whatsoever!
Chris Bosh is asking his Twitter followers if he should stay in Toronto or not. Why not just go out and buy a magic 8-ball Chris?
Tiger shoots a 79? When's the last time he did that. Last time I checked, his score was 121 and counting.
Stay dry and behave. Try to at least!
The Toronto Argonauts are on the clock with the first pick in the 2010 CFL Canadian College Draft this Sunday, but head coach Jim Barker hasn't ruled out his team potentially trading the top selection.
The 2010 Canadian College Draft can be seen live Sunday at Noon et/9am pt on TSN and TSN HD.
Barker, who is in his first year as the Argos' sideline general says the door will remain open for another team to acquire the pick right up until the draft begins.
"If the deal is right, we'll make it," stated Barker. "We are not going to mortgage our future but we are going to do what we can to help this club.
"As time moves, the offers sometimes seem to get better and better. To say what the percentages [of a trade] are, it's 50/50," Barker added.
One of the difficulties facing the Argos is that many of the draft's best prospects are either returning to school or trying out with an NFL club. Top talents like OL Joel Reinders, OL Kristian Matte, WR Shawn Gore, and WR Jordan Sisco are NFL bound, while OL John Bender and OL Danny Watkins are heading back to school.
"The goal is to draft guys who can fit on your roster and play," explained Barker. "Whether it's now or within the next few years you try to have every guy you draft be a guy who you can find a spot on your roster for. Sometimes that's not always the best player available. Sometimes you take the best player available and then you never see him.
"In this draft, I don't think it's as simple as best player available. There are so many things that go into it. It's the best player for your organization at the moment you draft."
With no player emerging as a clear-cut number one, the Argos will have to hope another team falls in love with a particular player and is willing to pay the appropriate ransom to get him. If not, Toronto is prepared to make the number one pick for the first time since 1997 when they selected OL Chad Folk.
"At this point, we're planning on having that selection and pairing it down," said Barker. "There are a lot of people really interested in the top pick. It's a commodity and being smart, intelligent and doing the right things with it is very important for this organization. This is an important draft for us."
Favre, who would turn 41 during the 2010 season, told ESPN the ankle injury that he suffered three months ago in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints continues to be swollen and painful.
That prompted tests to determine why healing had not occurred and Favre sent the results of those scans to orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who told the quarterback his opinion that surgery is unavoidable.
"We have spoken,'' Favre said in an e-mail. "To play again, I would need the surgery, as I suspected. This decision would be easy if not for my teammates and the fans and the entire Vikings staff. One year truly felt like 10 -- much like Green Bay for many years. That's what I was missing in my heart I suppose, a sense of belonging.''
Favre said he must determine whether his affection for the Vikings and his belief they are capable of winning the Super Bowl overrides his disdain for surgery.
Favre would not reveal the exact diagnosis or the prognosis on how long it would take to recover from the surgery.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Who in their right mind gives beer bottles to a group of 10 year old boys? What "coach" then tells one of those 10 year old boys to have a drink? What tremendous "adult" supervision! Aren't parents supposed to have some level of trust when it comes to their coaches? Did the parents of players on this team know what was going on. Why is alcohol even in a dressing room for 10 year old boys. Talk about going over the line boys and girls. This story goes so far over the line that you can't see the line anymore! Its rather disgusting and its rather sickening.
I don't know what team is responsible for this. It was taken at what Tammy says was a hockey tournament in Humboldt. It shouldn't be hard to figure out. The idiots (and I use that word kindly) responsible for this should be suspended for a long time by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, local law enforcement should be called in as its obvious alcohol was offered to minors and believe it or not, the kids should also be told their season is over. I realize that is harsh, but if it means parents look to their local hockey board for answers than so be it.
I'm sure the coaches will say it was just harmless fun and we should relax. This isn't harmless fun!There are other ways to have harmless fun! This is just downright stupid. Am I against beer in the dressing room. NO! Am I against beer in the dressing room of a 10 year old hockey team. YES! If you don't have a problem with this, look in the mirror and ask yourself what's the matter and then go to the phone book and make an appointment with therapist of choice.
I can't wait for those responsible to be identified, I can't wait for the reasoning to come out, I can't wait for the reactions of the parents of those involved, and I can't wait for the punishment to be doled out.
OK, I'll jump off the soapbox now. Rider fans can't wait for Sunday and the CFL draft. With the number 2 and the number 4 pick, the /=S=/ are in good shape. I am very interested to see what they do with that number 4 pick. My spidey senses tell me they are either going to trade down or they are going to make a deal with a club that might be packaged with a veteran offensive lineman to get a quality defensive lineman. I still believe linebacker Cory Greenwood will be the guy taken at number 2. There are so many places you can go at 4, but if they keep the pick, you just take the best player on your board regardless of the position. Yes, I know the team probably has an excess of offensive linemen already, but perhaps one of those linemen will be used in a post-draft trade to get that d-lineman.
Game 1 of the San Jose-Detroit series goes to the Sharks. Three goals in just over a minute sent San Jose on their way. They did a goal from Dany Heatley, but they need a lot more from their big guns if they are going to win this series. A lot more!
You knew this was coming......
If you see a Habs fan watching this, please give him or her something to wipe their eyes.
One in four PGA golfers asked think Tiger has taken performance enhancers. Yeah, that's going to improve the old image. The website "Sports By Brooks" also reported Thursday that Tiger has slept with over 120 women while married Who does he think he is...Dan Plaster? Oh right, Dan hasn't been married. In all seriousness, Sports by Brooks says Tiger had to write a list of the women he had slept with while at his sex rehab clinic. Really? He has to name everyone. I'm sure he forgot one or two. Do you know how many women you've slept with? What were their names? How long ago was it? Never mind!
Gas is now 1.07 a litre in Regina. Is there some place worse than hell that executives in the oil industry can go to when they are done!
One of the best to ever wear Seahawk blue is calling it quits. Walter Jones will be enshrined in Canton. Here's a stat for you on Jones. On 5,703 pass attempts over 13 seasons, according to coaches stats, Walter Jones was called for holding 9 times and surrendered 23 sacks.
I was in Legends Sports Memorabilia store on Thursday. Why do I torture myself by going into places like that. If I ever win the lottery, that is the first place I'm heading.
The Weather Network says snow this weekend? C'mon!
A happy 26th birthday to my favourite Regina establishment-Tumblers! I have spent many dollars in that place and have had many good memories in there. Many, many good memories. I may have to head down there today and get one of Regina's best pizzas courtesy of Jim Baiton and crew.
As you go into your Friday, I leave you with this....
If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving!
OK, I was 5-3 in the first round of the playoffs. Like many of you, I took Washington. Did Montreal really win that series? I said Halak would steal one for Montreal, but three? I also took Buffalo and Colorado (like I was really going to take San Jose considering their past playoff dumps).
Here's what the crystal ball has for Round 2.
2)Pittsburgh vs 8) Montreal
Will the Halak show continue? Can Montreal shut down the potent Pittsburgh attack as well as they did with Washington. Will Hal Gill bother the you know what out of Sid that he did out of Ovie. Gill might be the story of this series. He was a big part of that Pittsburgh team that won last year and his size will neutralize Crosby and Malkin somewhat. I can't see the Penguins losing this series, but then again I didn't see Washington losing either--and either did you. Penguins in 6.
6)Boston vs 7)Philadelphia
I knew the Flyers would beat New Jersey. They had the better team overall than New Jersey with the exception of goaltending. Philly was a deeper team. Boston won't dazzle you, but they are very workmanlike and can win those 2-1, 3-2 games. I took Buffalo in the first round and I was roundly chastised for it by daily blog reader Rob Swallow who had a playoff beard of greatness going. He then shaved it off because his rec team lost. That facial foliage should have stayed until the Cup playoffs were over. His shaving that thing off makes me want to take the Flyers, but I can't. I will go with Boston in 6.
1)San Jose vs 4)Detroit
The Sharks got by the Avalanche, but it wasn't because their big three did the work. Once again, Thornton and Marleau were disappointing and Dany Heatley wasn't much better. It was the Pavelski line getting it done for San Jose. Detroit just continued to get production from its top line and its 2nd line with the others chipping in as well. The Wings may have sent the NHL a message with their dismantling of Phoenix in Game 7. If the Sharks can get their big guns going, they can win this series. History has proven that doesn't happen. Detroit wins it----I'll be bold and say they win it in 5, but that is with a couple of overtime wins.
2)Chicago vs 3)Vancouver
How much fun is this series going to be? Its a rematch of last year's playoff battle that the Hawks won. Vancouver has the goaltending edge, but Chicago has better defenceman and there isn't much difference between each team's group of forwards. The key player in this series may be Ryan Kesler. If he can shut down Jonathan Toews, and chip in himself with a couple, it may turn the tide Vancouver's way. I took Chicago to win the Cup though so I can't take Vancouver. Take Chicago and take them in 7.
What are your thoughts! Who will the NHL's final four be? Lemme know!
Klimchuk was the Captain of a Calgary Bison squad that won the silver medal at the Western Canadian Bantam Championships. In 28 games with the Bisons this season, Klimchuk scored 33 times and collected 19 assists for 52 points while adding 44 minutes in penalties. He was also a 2009-10 South Division AMBHL All-Star.
Regina Pats General Manager, Brent Parker, “We are very excited to have Morgan joining our organization, he is gifted goal scorer and as good a skater as there was in the draft. We believe that if he continues to develop he has a chance to be a very good offensive player in our league. He was the captain of the Calgary Bisons this past season as he helped lead them to the league and provincial championships. His family has ties to the city and I know he is thrilled to be a Pat.”
Regina Pats Director of Scouting, Todd Ripplinger, “Played great at the Western Canadian Bantam Championships, he was dominant and showed great hands. He combines great feet, and is a good skater; Klimchuk will be a stud in this league.”
The first pick in today's draft went to Prince George. As expected, they took Waldheim, Saskatchewan forward Alex Forsberg. He is the brother of current Cougar Jesse Forsberg.
To follow the draft and see what the Pats and the other Saskie teams have done or what Saskie players have gone where, go to http://whl.ca/draft/draft.php
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
You remember Youppi don't you? The furry orange creature who could be a twin brother of Fozzie Bear was the mascot for the Montreal Expos until their demise in 2004. Youppi painfully watched his beloved Expos leave for Washington where they became the Nationals. Even though Youppi was picked up by the Canadiens, he still had a hatred for Washington. He vowed revenge! Six years later, he has it!
The Canadiens have taken a pound of flesh and then some from Washington by upsetting the Capitals in what is the 2nd greatest 8 vs 1 upset in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Once again, "Halakamania" ran wild as Jaroslav Halak stopped just about everything sent his way as Montreal beats the NHL's regular season champions 2-1. It means Ovechkin won't win the Cup this year. It means when you combine his Olympics and playoffs, Ovie will shudder when he hears the word Canadi(e)an. It means Gary Bettman's dream Eastern Conference matchup of Pittsburgh versus Washington goes up in smoke---albeit Brad Watson just about gave it to him by calling a late Montreal penalty. It means those who Caps in their playoff draft are a little choked and like it or not, it gives Sid the role of the best player. His team is still going and he has Olympic gold while Ovechkin can just hope for world gold now.
Did anyone really see this coming? Even the most ardent of Habs fans have to be surprised with what has taken place. How on earth did Montreal win three straight against the league's best team in the regular season. It had to be more than the play of Halak did it not? Where was Alexander Semin in this series? How did Mike Green get to be a Norris candidate when his defensive miscues were so obvious in this series. As I said before, we found out why Green wasn't in Vancouver. How many blocked shots did Montreal have? 182 to be exact or 26 a game. That is an incredible number and makes one wonder who leads this team in bruises. A lot of people will say Washington choked after being up 3-1, but even this non-Canadien fan has to give that team credit. They reached down and found something that Washington couldn't match. Pittsburgh is next. Do you dare take the Penguins after what you've just seen?
You also have to wonder what the Capitals will do in the off-season. They can score, but they don't want to play a great deal of defence. RJ Umberger proved to be right with his statements on the Capitals. As a hockey fan, you love the way they play, but as a coach in a league that still stresses defence, one would have to think that perhaps some goals might be sacrificed for guys willing to pay the price---guys that weren't on that Washington team this year. Let the autopsy begin!
ESPN has a poll on its site right now asking people what first round has been better. The NBA or the NHL playoffs. I was disappointed to see 54 percent of those asked chose the NBA. Really! I've watched some of the NBA playoffs as well, but they haven't even been close to the level of the NHL playoffs. I guess this just proves that many Americans just don't want to give hockey a choice. I would much rather take Ovechkin over Lebron and Sid over Kobe. I guess its because I'm Canadian. The gap isn't as wide as it could be too so that has to be seen as an encouraging site --especially in the US South where basketball is seemingly a right for many.
The finalists for the Hart Trophy will be named today. You have to think Ovechkin and Crosby are there. Is the 3rd candidate Ryan Miller, Henrik Sedin or someone completely different. You tell me!
The WHL bantam draft goes today, but the excitement just isn't there---at least not for me. Its because I know the guys that are selected today aren't going to be in the lineup right away. At least in the NHL or the NFL, the first couple of picks are generally going to be pros. Here, it just tells you what team owns what player. The players taken today won't make the lineup for at least a year and only the really good ones will make an impact immediately.
The Pats took Myles Bell with their first pick in the 2008 draft, and he is just starting to make an impact now. It doesn't matter how good the kid is, you won't see a lot of him next year. Its why to me the excitement of the draft is tempered somewhat.
The softball season must have started for my daughters. Why is that? The temperature has gotten cold-----AGAIN!
WWE Diva Kelly Kelly has left RAW for Smackdown? SIGGHHHH!! I guess I'll have to start watching Smackdown. Who is Kelly Kelly you non-wrestling fans ask. Here's your answer.....
Whatever happened to Daru Dhillon?
Make sure that a couple of nights this summer are spent at Currie Field watching the Regina Red Sox play ball. The club is working behind the scenes to make for some enjoyable summer nights at the diamond. If you are a baseball fan, make sure you take in games this season.
That's it for me. Have a good Thursday! If you see a Habs fan coming at you, try and turn the other way. You'll be better off! Trust me!
Pats forward Jordan Eberle has been named the Western Hockey League player of the year at the league's awards luncheon in Edmonton this afternoon. He had 106 points in 57 games and his points per game average of 1.86 is the best out of anyone in the WHL since 1998.
Warriors forward Jason Bast was named the top sportsmanlike player.
By the way, Eberle is the 4th Pat to win the award. The others were Dennis Sobchuk (1972-73), Doug Wickenheiser, (1979-80) and Josh Harding (2002-03).
Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has apologized to former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant for asking whether his mother was ever a prostitute.
The apology Wednesday came after Yahoo! Sports reported that Ireland posed the question during a pre-draft interview with Bryant.
"My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I'm considering drafting," Ireland said in a statement. "Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions. Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him.
"I appreciate his acceptance of that apology, and I told him I wished him well as he embarks on his NFL career."
Bryant's background received extensive scrutiny from NFL teams before the draft. He was taken by the Dallas Cowboys with the 24th pick in the first round last Thursday.
"My mom is not a prostitute," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. "I got mad — really mad — but I didn't show it."
Since the NHL switched the current playoff format in 1994 -- seeding teams 1-8 in a conference format -- the No. 8 seed has upset the No. 1 seed eight times out of 30 instances (26.7 percent).
The Montreal Canadiens can make it 9-for-32 should they knock off the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday at Verizon Center (7 p.m., VERSUS, TSN, RDS).
You don't have to go back far to find the most recent instance of No. 8 prevailing over No. 1. In the 2009 Western Conference Quarterfinals, No. 8 Anaheim upset the No. 1 Sharks, the Presidents' Trophy winner, in six games.
Of the eight upsets, five have come in six games and three others in seven games. Those series that went the distance are San Jose over Detroit in 1994, Pittsburgh over New Jersey in 1999 and San Jose over St. Louis in 2000.
The Sharks are the only team to twice win a playoff series as the No. 8 against a No. 1. San Jose also is the only team to win as a No. 8 and lose a series as No. 1.
Two teams -- Detroit and New Jersey -- have been upset as a No. 1 by a No. 8 seed twice. The Devils lost to Ottawa in six games in 1998 and in seven games to Pittsburgh in 1999. The Red Wings were knocked off in seven games by the Sharks in 1994 and in six games by Edmonton in 2006.
After the euphoria of pulling a shocking upset subsides, the No. 8 seed historically has had very little luck in the next round.
Of the eight upset-pulling teams, only the 2006 Edmonton Oilers made it out of the next round. Not only did those Oilers advance past the conference semifinals, they eliminated No. 5 San Jose (in six games) and No. 6 Anaheim (in five games) to meet Carolina, the No. 2 seed in the East, in the Stanley Cup Final. Edmonton fell behind 3-1 in the series and almost pulled off a monumental comeback, but lost Game 7 at Carolina.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I heard the start of the Phoenix-Detroit game on XM Radio and I kept hearing the Phoenix play-by-play games refer to "Pyett". I thought former Pats defenceman Logan Pyett who has been called up by Detroit had found his way into an NHL game. Just as I turned on the TV, Chris Cuthbert told me Taylor Pyatt had the puck for Phoenix. I forgot that Taylor was a Coyote.
Those Hab fans that had crawled noisily out of their closet after a great start against Washington had quietly gone back in, but they are starting to sneak out again. One can only wonder how long it will take for Montreal fans to talk about Cup number whatever it is should they upset the Capitals tonight. Halak doesn't have it in him to steal a 3rd game does he?
If you've got 5 minutes to kill, check this out and try to keep the laughing down.
That might be the funniest 5 hockey related minutes I've seen all year.
Jordan Eberle should be named the WHL's best player later today in Edmonton. You have to think he has the inside track to being named the CHL"s best during Memorial Cup week. The WHL bantam draft also takes place tomorrow in Edmonton. The Star-Phoenix's Cory Wolfe had a mock first round in Tuesday's LP. It has the Pats taking Calgary born forward Morgan Klimchuk with the 5th pick. We will see. I also can't help but wonder after hearing the statements of Brent Parker earlier this week if the team will trade down.
I wonder how Cole Bergquist feels knowing very few in the Rider Nation are willing to give him a shot as the backup quarterback. Instead, they seek experience (Joseph, Dinwiddie) in the backup spot. Be careful for what you wish for people. Having a back-up just makes a quarterback controversy that much easier if Darian Durant should struggle. For what its worth, I don't think Durant will struggle. I wonder what happened to the clown who kept ragging on me last year when I kept saying Durant was the man. I believe he said I didn't know football and that Durant wouldn't be the starter by Week 6. He's probably the same person that didn't realize Rod and Reid Pedersen are brothers. That's OK, no apology needed!
I wonder how CFL commish Marc Cohon feels when he hears David Braley's idea of re-instituting TV blackouts for Argo home games.
I wonder how Tiger Woods feels as he sees the Jenna Jameson-Tito Ortiz story play itself out.
How are you feeling?
The ESPN 30 for 30 series is great. The features on Gretzky's trade, the death of Hank Gathers and the University of Miami football team are must-watch TV, but the Ricky Williams story is absolutely incredible. Don't miss it when it comes on!
I entitled today's blog post "Coyote Ugly". Have any of you ever been to the Coyote Ugly bars across the U-S like the one in Denver. If you haven't, do so. The one in Denver is outstanding. I can only imagine the discussion if a bar like that found its way to Regina.
Is it really only Wednesday!
The event, hosted from December 26, 2009 through January 5, 2010, will contribute a legacy of over $15 million in funding to various levels of grassroots hockey.
The exact financial figures will be confirmed in the next few months, pending all financial reports and an external audit of the event’s financial records. Based on preliminary reports, the IIHF World Junior Championship steering committee is proud to confirm that the legacy funds will be distributed as follows:
- Over $7.5 million into grassroots Hockey Canada programs, high performance programs and international programming
- Over $5.3 million to the Canadian Hockey League for player development and its scholarship fund
- Over $1.5 million divided equally between Hockey Canada’s 12 other member branches to go towards supporting grassroots programming in every region in Canada
- Over $720,000 to the host Hockey Canada branch, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, to support grassroots programming, including an education assistance program within the Saskatchewan Development Model
“Hockey Canada congratulates the host committee and the Province of Saskatchewan for all its work in making the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship such a success,” said Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith. “In seeing the legacy of this event and the economic impact that it has had on the two host communities, the host province and grassroots hockey in Canada, we will continue to work together with our partners to bring major international events to Canada on a regular basis.”
“The Canadian Hockey League wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the Host Organizing Committee and hockey fans throughout Saskatchewan for making the 2010 World Junior Championship such an overwhelming success” commented CHL president David Branch. “The proceeds from this event will enable the CHL and our 60 Member Clubs to continue providing our players with the best hockey development and scholarship opportunities available in the game today.”
“The financial success of the World Junior event in Saskatchewan will greatly enhance the capability of our Saskatchewan Development Model partnership with the WHL, SJHL & SMAAAHL to offer scholarship opportunities to Junior A and Midget AAA players,” said Saskatchewan Hockey Association president Al Hubbs. “It will also contribute to our Legacy Fund which will be utilized to assist in keeping the game affordable and offer further scholarship opportunities for future generations.”
“This event leaves a legacy that includes education and development opportunities for our youth, upgrades and additions to our facilities, and a spirit of co-operation between our two major cities,” said Jack Brodsky, president of the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship host committee. “While we did this, we showcased our province to the world. What a great event for Saskatchewan!”
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance also has completed a study assessing the total economic impact of the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship at $50.6 million in total expenditures, supporting a net increase in economic activity in excess of $86 million in Saskatchewan, highlighted by:
- Visitor expenditures: $9.8 million
- Capital upgrades to facilities: $14.8 million
- Net increase in economic activity: $48.4 million (throughout Saskatchewan)
"These kinds of exciting opportunities help put Saskatchewan on the world map," said Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan. "I'd also like to thank the people of our great province for their spirit and enthusiasm, which allowed us host such a successful event.”
Compare that to the first round of the NBA playoffs which are also going on. The road team is 9-24.
The quest for Western Hockey League supremacy is down to two teams as the Husky WHL Eastern Conference Champion Calgary Hitmen meet the Kal Tire Western Conference Champion Tri-City Americans in the 2010 WHL Championship series.
It’s the first time the No. 1 seeds from both the Eastern and Western Conference will meet in the WHL Championship series since 2002-03.
The Hitmen and Americans will now face off in a best-of-seven series for the chance to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup and earn a berth at the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in Brandon, MB, where they will join the host Brandon Wheat Kings as well as the OHL and QMJHL Champions.
Here's a look at the 2010 WHL Championship series match-up (also attached):
Calgary Hitmen vs Tri-City Americans
2009-10 head-to-head regular-season record:
Calgary: 1-0-0-0, 2pts
Tri-City: 0-1-0-0, 0pts
Martin Jones turned in a 35-save performance to record the shutout as the Calgary Hitmen blanked the visiting Tri-City Americans 3-0 in the lone meeting of the season between the teams on January 31st in Calgary, AB.
Ian Schultz, Joel Broda and Jimmy Bubnick scored for the Hitmen, who went 2-for-5 on the power play while holding the Ams scoreless on five man advantage opportunities, and Tyler Shattock chipped in a pair of assists.
Alexander Pechurskiy got the start for the Ams, turning aside 29 of 31 shots he faced in a losing cause for the Americans.
The Americans have won three of the last five meetings versus the Hitmen over the past five seasons.
CALGARY HITMEN - Husky WHL Eastern Conference Champion
2010 Playoff top scorers:
Brandon Kozun 18gp-7g-19a-26pts
Joel Broda 18gp-12g-4a-16pts
Tyler Shattock 16gp-5g-10a-15pts
Kris Foucault 18gp-8g-6a-14pts
How They Got Here…
-Defeated the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-3 in 1st round.
-Defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-2 in 2nd round.
-Defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-1 in Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship series.
The Hitmen find themselves back in the WHL Championship series for a second straight season. They lost in six games to the Kelowna Rockets in the 2009 WHL Championship series last spring.
Having been to the Eastern Conference final in each of the last four years, and now making their second straight trip to the Championship series, the Hitmen are looking to finally close the deal and capture the Ed Chynoweth Cup after four years of being on the cusp.
The two-time defending Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy winners, the Hitmen have a balanced team that can score while also playing a strong defensive game.
The fourth-highest scoring team in the WHL during the regular season, the Hitmen have pumped in a League-best 75 goals through 18 post-season games for an average of 4.17 goals per game. Led by playoff scoring leader Brandon Kozun, the Hitmen boast 12 players with 10 or more points in the playoffs and 10 players with at least four goals. In addition, their power play is operating at a 24.1 per cent clip in the post-season.
Defensively, only the Ams have been stingier than the Hitmen through the 2010 playoffs. The Hitmen have surrendered 49 goals – 26 fewer than they’ve scored – for an average of 2.72 goals-against per game. In addition, the Hitmen have tightened up their penalty killing, having allowed only two power play goals in 23 shorthanded situations through their five-game series win over the talented Wheat Kings.
Goaltender Martin Jones endured some shaky moments early in the post-season, but has since brought his game to a new level. The 20-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., was especially impressive during the Hitmen’s Conference Championship series win over Brandon, having allowed just 12 goals on 156 shots in five games for a .949 save percentage to earn the MVP for the series. Jones now boasts a stellar 28-9-2 record in 41 career playoff appearances.
Keys To Success:
-Size Matters. The Hitmen have plenty of size both up front and on the blue line. Playing a physical game may work to the Hitmen’s advantage versus an Americans team that has one of the smaller lineups in the WHL. Using their size in front of Drew Owsley would also go a long way to helping them beat the red-hot netminder.
-Stay out of the Box. The Hitmen have owned one of the better penalty killing units all season. However, they’d be best not to tempt fate by taking too many penalties versus an Americans team that thrives on the power play.
-Learn from the Past. This is the Hitmen’s second straight appearance in the WHL Championship series. The team boasts 11 players who felt the sting of losing the WHL Championship to the Kelowna Rockets last season. They’ll need to draw on that experience in order to find a higher level of play if they want to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
TRI-CITY AMERICANS - Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Champion
2010 Playoffs top scorers:
Brendan Shinnimin 17gp-8g-14a-22pts
Kruise Reddick 17gp-9g-12a-21pts
Brooks Macek 17gp-6g-11a-17pts
Justin Feser 17gp-3g-14a-17pts
How They Got Here…
-Defeated the Chilliwack Bruins 4-2 in 1st round.
-Defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 in 2nd round.
-Defeated the Vancouver Giants 4-2 in Kal Tire Western Conference Championship series.
The Americans are making their first-ever appearance in the WHL Championship series after winning the Western Conference Championship for the first time in their 22-year history.
Their most recent lengthy playoff run saw the team lose the 2008 Western Conference Championship series to the eventual WHL and Memorial Cup Champion Spokane Chiefs.
The Americans have proved to be a team without any glaring weaknesses or holes. Boasting a deep and talented group of forwards and a strong, if unheralded, group of defensemen, and an outstanding goaltender, the Americans have been the most consistent team throughout the 2010 WHL playoffs.
Up front, the Ams boast plenty of speed, skill and offensive depth, with eight forwards having topped the 10-point mark, and seven players with five or more goals in the post-season. Kruise Reddick has made a habit of scoring big goals at key times in the playoffs, while sophomores Brendan Shinnimin, Justin Feser and Brooks Macek have carried their strong regular-season play right through the playoffs. Perhaps the Ams’ biggest offensive weapon is their power play, which torched the Giants for 10 goals in 32 chances in the Western Conference finals.
Defensively, the Americans have surrendered the fewest goals of the remaining two teams. The team has given up just 39 goals in 17 games, and has surrendered more than three goals in a game just three times. Boasting a combined +30 rating in the playoffs, Tri-Cities’ defense corps may lack marquee names, but has done a stellar job in shutting down some of the WHL’s top offensive threats through the first three rounds.
In net, Drew Owsley has continued to build on an already outstanding sophomore season, showing he can fill the shoes left by two-time WHL Goaltender of the Year Chet Pickard. Owsley leads all WHL goaltenders with a 2.14 GAA and a terrific .931 save percentage through the playoffs, and has not lost back-to-back playoff games. Owsley shut the door on the Giants in the Conference Championship series, allowing just five goals on 105 shots over the last three games of the series while earning 1st Star honors in all three games.
Keys To Success:
-Speed Kills. Not the biggest team, in terms of physical stature, the Americans do possess plenty of speed. They have used their team speed to their advantage all season, and will need to continue to do so versus a much bigger, physical Hitmen team. Players like Johnny Lazo, Brendan Shinnimin and Jordan Messier will need to turn on the jets to expose Calgary’s defense.
-Road Warriors. With Calgary having home ice advantage, the Ams know they will need to win at least once on Hitmen turf if they want to win the series. Boasting a solid 6-2 record on the road in the post-season, the Ams have proven they can win in tough buildings. Yet, the Ams failed to score in their only visit to Calgary this season.
-In Owsley We Trust. Drew Owsley has been one of the big reasons the Americans have reached the WHL Final. The MVP of the Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Championship series, no goalie has better numbers or has been more consistent than Owsley in the post-season. Now, Owsley will need to out-duel an equally strong goaltender in Martin Jones and keep the high-scoring Hitmen at bay.
#1 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Friday, April 30 (7:30pm MT)
#2 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Saturday, May 1 (8:00pm MT)
#3 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Tuesday, May 4 (7:05pm PT)
#4 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Wednesday, May 5 (7:05pm PT)
#5 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Friday, May 7 (7:00pm MT)**
#6 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Sunday, May 9 (5:05pm PT)**
#7 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Monday, May 10 (7:00pm MT)**
Gilchrist (5’9 – 184 lbs) was a two-year starter at Hampton after he transferred from Virginia Tech. He recorded 40 catches, 544 yards and two touchdowns in his senior season and also averaged 15.6 yards on 28 punt returns with three more touchdowns. In his junior year, he had 69 catches for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with a 19 yard average on 20 punt returns and three more. Gilchrist was a first-team all-conference in 2007 and a second-team All-MEAC in 2008. The 24-year old originally signed with the Riders in October, 2009 and spent a few weeks on the team’s practice roster.
Hawkins (6’3- 244 lbs) played two seasons at Illinois State after transferring from Purdue. He was runner-up for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the top defensive player in I-AA football. Hawkins ranked second in the nation with 17 sacks as a senior, setting school and Gateway Conference records. He was also the MVP for the 2006 Hula Bowl. The 26-year old was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. In 20 games played with the Jaguars during two seasons, Hawkins had 23 tackles and 5.5 quarterback sacks.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Sabres won't be in, but the Hawks still might get there. Chicago gets rid of Nashville in 6 with a wild 5-3 win. The Hawks will meet the Canucks in Round 2 in a rematch of last year's series. Can Niemi outduel Luongo? Can the Sedins get through Keith and Seabrook, can Kane and Toews get through Bieksa and Edler? This series has classic written all over it.
Jaroslav Halak isn't going to get confused with Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy or Steve Penney anytime soon, but there is no doubt what goalie Habs fans have thrown their loyalty to. Halak was "c'est magnifique" as he stopped 53 shots in a 3-1 Montreal win meaning Game 7 will be needed in that series. This series has been a weird one. Montreal had control off the start, Washington took it away from them and looked to have things well in hand going into Game 5, but Montreal has found a way to get the momentum by staving off elimination twice thus forcing the one game winner take all showdown. If Montreal wins, they will get Pittsburgh and Boston will get Philly. A Washington win means they get the Flyers with the Penguins and Bruins battling one another.
I was at a four way stop twice today and in both cases, a girl driving a car with Alberta plates ignored the rules and went through just about causing a accident. Does Alberta have not four way stops? Are Alberta drivers that ignorant? Is it coincidence?
Many Rider fans are hoping the team drafts either DT Eddie Steele from Manitoba or DT Brian Bulcke from Stanford on Sunday. Doesn't the green need defensive ends? Chunky Adams, Keith Shologan and Luc Mullinder are fine at DT. If Steele or Bulcke can play outside, I say I'm fine with that selection. If they are strictly inside, I say look elsewhere. You would have to think that perhaps GM Brendan Taman and Coach Ken Miller may be able to find an experienced defensive end and a 2nd round pick for number 4.
I am told Ryan Dinwiddie's agent is asking for too much $$$ at this time. If the price comes down, look for Dinwiddie to be at camp.
If Quebec City and Halifax could host a World Hockey Championship, why can't Saskatchewan do it. We pulled off the World Juniors, so lets take it one step further.
Tiger Woods will play at this weeks PGA stop--the Quail Hollow Classic, but Weyburn's Graham DeLaet won't take part in this week's tournament. I wonder if the day will come that Tiger plays a round with the Saskie. That would be something that would have a lot of Saskatchewan golfers tuning in.
Keep fighting Bret Michaels! Keep fighting!
WHL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
SERIES O (Game # - Visitor @ Home; Date)
All Start Times Are Local
#1 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Friday, April 30 (7:30pm MT)
#2 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Saturday, May 1 (8:00pm MT)
#3 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Tuesday, May 4 (7:05pm PT)
#4 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Wednesday, May 5 (7:05pm PT)
#5 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Friday, May 7 (7:00pm MT)**
#6 – Calgary @ Tri-City; Sunday, May 9 (5:05pm PT)**
#7 – Tri-City @ Calgary; Monday, May 10 (7:00pm MT)**
** - if necessary
Sunday, April 25, 2010
How lucky is Chris Jakubauskas? He could have been killed on the mound and frankly, he is lucky he wasn't. Watching that is sickening. Did you see what happened to the ball after it hits his skull. If not, watch again! Someday, a player will get killed. It is going to happen. I don't know what baseball can do to reduce the chances of this happening outside of forcing the pitcher to wear a batters helmet. You can't put a screen in front of him. Somewhere, someone must have an idea as to how pitchers can be protected without harming the game's integrity. In the meantime, every pitcher in every league goes out taking a huge chance. It is probably worse when the aluminum bat is used because the ball comes off even quicker than it does off a wooden bat.
Congrats to Rams receiver Jordan Sisco who signs an NFL tryout contract with the Indianapolis Colts. We'll see what type of impression he makes on the coaching staff and Peyton Manning. Hopefully Peyton doesn't think Sisco is just another dumb Canadian. Isn't that what he called Vanderjagt that one year? Didn't Peyton say Vanderjagt was just a dumb, liquored up Canadian after the kicker dissed Peyton on "The Score" to then host Elliotte Friedman.
I'm asking you this week what the Riders should do with their second first round selection in Sunday's draft. At number 4, they can do a majority of things. They can take the best player available whoever that may be. They can trade down and get some much needed picks in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th round. They can take a package of players and picks from someone or they could keep the number 4 pick and do something with the number 2 pick. I'm guessing Ken Miller and Brendan Taman will be fielding many calls and perhaps making some this week. I wonder how much the draft landscape has changed with some of the top prospects like Sisco and Cory Greenwood signing with NFL teams.
Congrats to the Notre Dame Hounds. After their girls team failed to win the Canadian midget title on Saturday in the Esso Cup, the mens team won the Telus Cup for a 2nd straight year beating Mississauga in the final. Its the 5th time since 2002 that a Saskatchewan team has won the title.
Canuck fans are happy as they are moving into the 2nd round of the playoffs with a 3-2 win over L-A to take that series in 6. If you've got Mikael Samuelsson in the pool, you are loving life. If the Hawks take out Nashville, they will get Vancouver in the next round. That will be great hockey.
You may have already seen that Rod Pedersen has pictures of the Moose Jaw Multiplex up on his blog as the building starts to take shape. Someone told Rod that he should take some Pat stickers and affix them to places in the new structure. Don't give RP any ideas! HA HA! Then again if a Red Sox fan put a David Ortiz jersey in the new Yankee stadium, some Pats fan could probably and will probably do something in the new building. Speaking of which, I wonder if the Warriors plan to usher out the old with some special nights this winter or if they will wait before skating in the new building to honor Warriors of old. I would hope they do it this winter so that the players ---if they can get there---can come back to the old rink where they have so many memories.
Tri-Cities will play Calgary in the WHL final. The Americans finishing off Vancouver in six. I picked the Hitmen to win it all at the start of the playoffs so you know what way I'm leaning.
How about the Windsor Spitfires. They trailed Kitchener 3-0 in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs and came back to win the series in 7. You hafta think the Spitfires are the odds-on favourites to win the Memorial Cup. Their team is stacked from top to bottom.
Sad news to report---especially for fans of Stampede Wrestling. The legendary Mr. Hito has passed away. It happened last week in Japan. How many guys from the great Stampede days have passed on? Davey Boy, Pillman, Hito, Bad News Allen, Benoit, Kerry Brown, Biff Wellington. The list just goes on and on.
Did anyone go to the Taboo Sex Show this weekend? Part of me wanted to check that out, another part of me said you're in your mid 40's--that is not the place for you.
As you go into your Monday, ask yourself this
Why was it in school they had nap time when you had no desire of getting some afternoon shut-eye, and now in the workplace when you could use some, there is no mandated nap time. Why?
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Thunder Bay Queens are the 2010 Esso Cup champs after a hard-fought 4-3 win over Notre Dame in Saturday's final at the Co-Operators Centre. The Ontario reps were down 3-1 at one point, but they roared back to tie it and then win it when tournament MVP Kaitlyn Tougas tipped in a shot from the point from her sister Courtney in the 3rd. It ended what was a very entertaining week of hockey. The host committee should be proud of a job well done as should Hockey Canada for once again running a first class show.
The Regina Rebels could not come through with the bronze medal. They lost 3-1 to the Edmonton Thunder in the 3rd place game.
What a wild ending in Chicago. Marian Hossa's overtime goal gives Chicago a 5-4 win over Nashville and a 3-2 series lead. Hossa had just stepped back on the ice after serving a 5 minute major for boarding. Should he have been still in the game? Its a debate that will rage on for a couple of days. The Hawks tied the game in the final minute with Patrick Kane scoring shorthanded albeit the one man advantage was negated because Chicago had pulled the goalie in favour of the extra attacker.
San Jose is in the 2nd round. Yes, that's correct. The Sharks beat Colorado to win that series in 6. I'm still not sold on the Sharkies. As it stands right now, they would play Detroit in round 2. I'll take the Wings there. If 12, 19 and 15 (Marleau, Thornton and Heatley) play spectators, the Sharks can't win. Setoguchi, Pavelski and Clowe can only take that team so far.
Has Bob Cole realized Pascal Dupuis's shot went in the net? The legendary HNIC broadcaster showed once again that it might be time to hang up the mike as he completely missed the fact that Dupuis had scored. It took him a good two or three seconds to realize the game was over. Cole is one of the good ones, but like all of the good ones, eventually time does expire. Some feel that time should have been a long time ago. Last night only adds fuel to that fire. I've never met Bob, but guys like Elliotte Friedman, Chris Cuthbert, Drew Remenda and Ron McLean have said you will find no better an individual and no better prepared individual than Cole.
Many NFL experts are saying the Seahawks won the draft. I like what Pete Carroll did in his first draft as he shored up several holes by drafting some talent and acquiring some. I don't think Seattle is the class of the NFC West again, but they aren't far away. With a break here or there, they could be a playoff team this year.
Rain and snow are in Sunday's forecast. It must be opening day for both of my daughters softball season. Lets just check the calendar on that. YUP! SIGHHHHHH!!!!!
I would love to see the Oklahoma City Thunder knock off the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Then again, I don't mind seeing any team beat the Lakers whether it be regular season or playoffs.
"Old School" might be one of the greatest movies ever made.
The Oilers have fired their entire training staff. Yeah, that was the problem!
Evraz Place employee Josh Shaw was a no-show around the Co-Operators Centre while the Esso Cup was on. I was told by an Evraz muckety-muck why this was. I will not repeat what was said by that muckety-muck.
That's all I got. Have a good Sunday!
When all is said and done, around 6-thousand people will have taken in the hockey this week at the Co-Operators Centre. The crowd was great for the two games yesterday and it will be again today. Wilcox will be empty as the kids from Notre Dame show up en masse again today. They provided some entertainment last night, but the trash-talking of parents on the Rebels didn't work. Someone also has to tell the Wilcox group that there is no need trying to start a wave in a building where there are only seats on one side.
I had a good conversation with one of the parents of the Moncton team yesterday. He has thoroughly enjoyed Regina as have the rest of his entourage. He said the team had been to places like the science centre and the RCMP museum. I then told him that he can't leave Regina without buying something with the /=S=/ on it. When he asksed what I was talking about, a Rider fan walking by undid his sweater to show him. He laughed and said with Mosaic not that far away, he would have to. He then reminded me about the Edmonton-Toronto game happening in Moncton and how he can't go to that game wearing Rider gear. I told him, oh yes you can. Oh you crazy Maritimers, you have so much to learn when it comes to the CFL! :)
Give credit to the Canadiens. After getting slammed twice at home by Washington, everyone thought it was over in Game 5, but Montreal found a way and now gets to go back home to force a Game 7. Like I said about Ottawa, they wanted a chance to get back home to try and set up a Game 7. They have done it. Vancouver and Detroit finally started to show why they are being considered as Cup contenders. I think both end those series tomorrow.
The Seahawks get running back Lendale White in a trade with Tennessee today. I'm OK with that.
The Wheat Kings can get ready for the Memorial Cup while the Hitmen will battle either Vancouver or Tri-Cities for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Calgary finishes off Brandon in 5 with a 6-1 win. The Americans beat Vancouver 4-1 to take a 3-2 lead in that series.
Two good pieces by the Leader-Post's Greg Harder this morning. One deals with the Pats and GM Brent Parker talking about trading down in the bantam draft. The Pats currently have the number 5 pick. I would endorse that move as long as they don't move down too far and they get a player that can help them immediately. Harder also says it looks like there won't be an NHL exhibition game here this year. If the NHL doesn't come to Regina, it won't hurt my feelings any. Although it would be nice to see Edmonton come to town so that Regina could see Jordan Eberle do his thing for the Oilers. Speaking of Eberle, he has been at the Esso Cup quite a bit this week. He did an autograph signing and dropped the puck at one game, but he has been watching and has been the center of attention at times. All of the teams have tried to get their picture with him. I think they have succeeded. No word on how many phone numbers Jordan might have received.
Do you anyone in Edmonton? If you do, phone them as someone from the Alberta capital won the 41 million in last night's Lotto Max draw.
I now have 65 people following me on Twitter. I actually sent a message to the lovely Charissa Thompson via Twitter the other night. She's been doing the bench interviews for Versus in the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series. This only makes me wish we were getting this series with the Versus broadcasters instead of HNIC.
The NFL network's Mike Mayock is out of today's draft coverage on the network because he has laryngitis. Rich Eisen says he sounds like a combination of Grover and Debra Winger. I wonder how Eisen (one of my faves) would describe my voice after what I've gone through this week.
Bangkok has been named as the number one party city in the world. I'll pass. No word on where Red Deer came in in the final voting.
Have a good Saturday everyone!
Friday, April 23, 2010
From: The National Post
One of curling's most successful back-end partnerships is coming to an end.
Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones and Cathy Overton-Clapham have parted ways after six years together, a run that produced four Scotties Tournament of Hearts championships, including the past three in succession, a world title and five Grand Slam victories.
The team, rounded out by second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin, made the announcement official with a news release late Thursday.
"Our goal is to represent Canada at the world women's curling championship and the Olympics," said Jones in the release. "To do that, we need to take steps now to ensure we will have a complete set of skills and strengths come 2014.
"Cathy is one the top thirds in Canada and has been a huge component of the team's success. More importantly, she is passionate about the game. We have been fortunate to count her as a team member and friend. This will be an emotional time for all of us, but we will always have the benefit of what we have learned from Cathy over the years."
The move, however, came as a surprise to Overton-Clapham, who was summoned to a team meeting on Wednesday and informed by Jones that her services were no longer required.
"I had absolutely no idea. When we were talking, I wasn't really even listening because I was blown away," Overton-Clapham told the Winnipeg Free Press. "But then they sent me an e-mail later saying they were looking for someone with more energy, more excitement, more vision."
Overton-Clapham said she attended the team meeting Wednesday thinking her teammates were going to discuss the team's schedule for the upcoming season.
"I was thinking people were going to say they wanted a lighter schedule, maybe have some babies. And instead they told me I was gone... That's why I was so surprised. And now I'm wondering: How long has this been going on?"
It's expected that Jones, Officer and Askin will name a new player for Overton-Clapham soon, but according to sources, the highly speculated move of Canadian junior women's champ Rachel Homan from her home in Ottawa to take up a position on the new-look Jones team is extremely unlikely.
The move, made by the team as a whole, will take many by surprise considering the team was coming off another Canadian title and a bronze medal at the Ford world championship in Swift Current, Sask.
As well, Overton-Clapham was the all-star third at the 2010 Scotties in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and also led all thirds in shooting percentage at both the Scotties and the world championship.
But the timing makes sense; many teams will make similar moves in the coming weeks and months in order to put together what they consider the ideal lineup to take a run at the 2013 Olympic Trials.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
How can Tim Tebow be drafted ahead of someone like Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy. What are you thinking Josh McDaniels? Tebow is going to be the most talked about white bronco since the one OJ Simpson episode.
The Raiders actually made a first round pick that made sense as they get LB Rolando McClain from Alabama. He is going to be good---real good.
I don't like the first round of the NFL draft being on a Thursday. Do the first two rounds Friday and do the rest Saturday, but ditch this Thursday thing. That being said, it only took 3 1/2 hours to get through the first round. NICE!
The best statement I have heard yet on Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers would be stupid to trade him. Baltimore never gave up on Ray Lewis, and they won, the LA Lakers never gave up on Kobe Bryant and they won. The Steelers have won with Roethlisberger and they can again with him. Can they win without him? We won't find out as he won't be getting traded despite the fact we have found out over recent weeks what a douchebag he is.
Lets talk CFL football. Graham Harrell's release is creating quite a buzz. Almost too much for a guy who never took a snap. I guess everyone wanted to see if this hotshot NCAA quarterback who is a good one could translate his game into a solid one in Canada after being a Heisman choice. Would it surprise you if Harrell has some NFL workouts planned? He's got to be better than some of the plugs that are currently employed as NFL quarterbacks. It leaves Darian Durant and two rookies. Its sparking talk of a Kerry Joseph return. I don't know if K-J will come back to Regina, but I do wonder if the guy that quarterbacked the Bombers at Grey Cup 2007 will get a shot---that guy being Ryan Dinwiddie. Don't be surprised. Someone who has played in this league is needed as a backup to Darian Durant. Jason Maas? Cody Pickett? Hey if Jeff Garcia returns to Calgary, maybe Henry would come back! Imagine that scenario within the Rider Nation for a moment won't you? Imagine that for just one second.
Speaking of the Stamps, they have a major announcement scheduled for this morning at 11. Hmmmmm, I wonder what that is all about.
Lets talk Esso Cup. The host Regina Rebels have made it to the playoffs. They have had several key performances, but the play of Samantha Langford has really stood out as far as I'm concerned. She has been absolutely outstanding in her starts and is obviously deserving of her goalie of the year award in Saskatchewan midget female hockey. Langford came up huge several times on Thursday as Regina beat Richelieu to advance to a semi-final game against Notre Dame. The Hounds looked absolutely brutal in losing big to Thunder Bay. It looked nothing like the Hounds team that had treated us all week to some creative hockey. As for Thunder Bay, they will play Edmonton in a game that the Pacific champs maybe don't deserve to be in because of a major braincramp by their coach.
The Edmonton coach thought his team needed a win in regulation over Moncton in their final round-robin game. With the game tied at 2 late in the 3rd, the Thunder pulled their goalie in an attempt to clinch a playoff spot. Three points would have put some pressure on Regina, but two points was all they needed. Had Moncton scored for the win, they would have had a playoff opportunity and they would have had none. Edmonton did win the game in a shootout, but the actions of their coach had many talking after the game as they were able to absorb what their coach didn't.
Its hard to say what our Olympic team will look like in Sochi, Russia in 2014, but I will be interested to see if names like Langford,(named the tourney's top goalie Thursday night)Janik Robichaud of Moncton(named top forward), Brianna Gillanders (top scorer) and Richelieu's Genevieve Bannon are there. I'm guessing that one girl who has been on the Co-Operators Centre Ice this week will be there in 2014.
If you've been reading this blog, you know my voice gave out earlier this week and that its been a raspy, scratchy delivery for those watching the games on fasthockey.com. I will do the Notre-Dame-Rebels game on Access tomorrow night with Julie Folk and I am hoping and praying that 24 hours rest will get my voice to as close to 100 percent as possible for the broadcast. I really don't want to do a game on Access if I'm not at 100 percent for obvious reasons, but I will give it my best. I do apologize in advance though. By the way, thanks to many people who have given me remedies this week either in person or via the blog or e-mail. It is much appreciated!
I got to give credit when credit is due and my good friend Kelly Remple came up with a helluva idea while doing the Thunder Bay-Notre Dame game with me at the Esso Cup. In between periods, Kelly suggested the Regina Pats should do what it takes to host a pre-season tournament at the CoC. You could have a big one there with six rinks on the go. Wouldn't you love to see the Saskatchewan teams all get together one weekend for a tournament? I'd be all for that. Instead of the Pats heading to Edmonton for a tourney, teams like P-A, Swift Current, and Saskatoon could come to Regina. Yes, Moose Jaw and Brandon could come too. Lets take it one step further. The SJHL should move its showcase weekend to the CoC. All teams would be able to play without a problem and it would give Reginans a good chance to watch the SJHL without having to travel to Wilcox, Weyburn or wherever. It would be a good weekend of hockey as well.
I told you Philly would upset New Jersey. The Flyers have a better team all around except in goal. If Brian Boucher played above average, Philly had a shot and they took advantage of that shot. Where were guys like Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac in this series? Looks like the trade to get Kovalchuk ended up being a great big bust for New Jersey. I can't see him coming back to the defensive stylings of Jacques Lemaire next year. Then again, if the rumours are correct, Kovalchuk is going home to play in the KHL. See ya Ilya!
Good on Ottawa for forcing another game after a triple overtime win in Pittsburgh. You never want to let a team off the hook when you have the chance to get rid of them. An Ottawa win at home will have Pittsburgh gripping their sticks a little tightly as they go home for Game 7. San Jose solved Craig Anderson in Game 5, but I still think that one is going 7. Chicago evens things up in Nashville. I still like the Hawks to take that one.
Many think the NHL should just allow players to kick the puck in the net. I'm not one that believes that should be the case.
The NCAA basketball tournament will expand to 68. I'm OK with that. Its better than 96 as had been suggested.
I wonder how the Pittsburgh Pirates TV and radio guys coped while calling a 20-0 loss for their team. That would really hurt!
I heard something Thursday morning that I hadn't heard in a long time. I hope its a long time before I hear it again because I forgot how bad it really is.
Canada finishes 7th at the World Under 18. The rest of the world is catching up folks. Yes, I know Canada didn't ice its optimal team at this event, but the world is catching up. It just makes for more exciting World Junior games.
As you begin your Friday, I ask you this....
If your plan is to fail and you do it, have you succeeded?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It was suggested to me pineapple juice was a good remedy because it has some kind of anti-inflammatory chemical in it. There was no pineapple juice to be found at the CoOperators Centre. It was then suggested that I take some of the altoids I had and drop them into some honey lemon tea. I should then let that tea cool down a little and then sip it slowly. OK! With a Tim Hortons at the CoC, I had no problem getting the tea----4 times. I feel like an old woman getting ready to go play bridge or something. Did someone forget the cookies? Bottom line is the vocal cords are still stressed, but they are much better so it must have worked. Am I 100 percent? No! Do I want to be back at 100 percent before doing Friday's semi-final involving the host Regina Rebels on Access? Yes! A warning now folks----it might sound like Russ Howard at the end of the week at the Brier.
By the way, Michael Ball and Julie Folk have been doing a great job with the call of the Rebels game each night on Access. They've been doing the nightcap while I've been doing the first two games of the day for fasthockey. Hockey Canada officials are getting a lot of positive comments from across the country for the work that's being done so that is good. I knew Pete Paczko and Kelly Remple would be their brilliant selves, but I've really been helped by a young lady named Kelcie Graham. She played for the Cougar womens hockey team and was recommended to me by coach Sarah Howald. I had never met Kelcie before Monday and I'm sure she was nervous, but she has been outstanding all week in breaking the womens game down. I'll do my last broadcast with her tomorrow and that's too bad because she has been getting better and better with each game.
The last day of the round-robin will go at the Esso Cup today and organizers couldn't be happier. All games will mean everything including the host Rebels against Richelieu, Quebec. Regina needs a win to secure a spot in the semis while a win by the Quebec reps could get them in. It makes for a great day of hockey, it makes for an early day of hockey as the first game goes at 930 with Edmonton playing Moncton. The winner will go to the semi's. The loser can enjoy tomorrow's banquet and then make plans for home.
Where did all the Montreal fans go? The Habs are done after getting blasted in back to back home games. That series should end in Washington on Friday. Boston beats Buffalo in double overtime. Methinks the Sabres are done as Tuukka Rask is simply outperforming Ryan Miller and Vancouver and L-A head back to "The Coov" tied at 2 after the Canucks won 6-4 in a game that for a while looked like it was going to end with the Kings one game away from an upset. I think this one is going to go 7.
How many "too many men" penalties have we seen in these playoffs? An abnormal amount I would say.
San Jose has beaten Colorado twice yet Heatley, Thornton and Marleau have not scored yet. If the Sharks can win without these guys, peddle the latter two off in the off-season. I guess they don't have to worry about Marleau since he's a UFA. I really get the feeling the Oilers are going to send an offer his way. Oh well, he'll be good for 82 games. Could Marleau be Jordan Eberle's centerman next year?
Who is Montreal's starting goalie going to be next year? I'm starting to wonder if both guys will hit the road or be told to at the end of the year.
My playoff draft sucks! Correction, my playoff draft SUCKS!
Devoted blog reader Rob Swallow has got an outstanding playoff beard going as he cheers on his Bruins. I don't care if Boston wins or loses, Robbie boy, you must keep that shag on your chin. You're looking mean, son, mean!
Kevin Prendergast has been fired as the Oilers assistant GM. He brought such gems like Michel Reisen and Jani Rita to Edmonton as first round picks. SIGGHHHH!!! This will ensure that the Oilers will take Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin with the number one pick and that the pick won't be someone like Tomas Hricina!
Is Tim Tebow going to get taken in the 1st round of the NFL draft? I hope not! Oh wait, maybe he'll be a Raider. Just imagine that for a few moments. As for the Seahawks, if they don't take one of the massive o-lineman up for grabs at 6, I will be disgusted.
The Cubs have moved Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen. SIGGHHHH!!!
Did anyone go see Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg at the Performing Arts Centre last night?
Why hasn't Rob Vanstone come down to the CoOperators Centre to visit with Kelly Remple and myself? There has to be a column at the Esso Cup somewhere.
Who has provided the better playoff coverage? TSN or CBC. Its been close as far as I'm concerned, but I might have to give the nod to TSN.
When Don Cherry finally retires, will Mike Milbury take Grapes' spot? He's got my vote!
Why isn't John Foley in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame? If you don't know who John Foley or J-R Foley is, you are simply too educated to be reading this blog---especially if you are from Western Canada!
Now that you've wasted two minutes of your life that you aren't getting back, get out there and do what you do best!
When the suspension is announced, it will contain conditions that will allow it to be reduced based on Roethlisberger's behavior and compliance with clinical evaluators.
Commissioner Roger Goodell's verdict will reinforce a message that NFL employees will be held to a higher standard than the law.
Steelers employees were bracing Tuesday night for what they suspected would be an eight-game suspension, but two sources said it would not be eight games.
The Steelers are 5-5 in games Roethlisberger has not started in since 2004.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
In the 3rd period of an exciting game between Moncton and Notre Dame, Hounds forward Olivia Howe got pulled down while on a breakaway resulting in a penalty shot. Both myself and my grade "A" colour man Kelly Remple were watching the play so we didn't see Moncton defenceman Monika Cormier go sliding into the endboards head first. What we saw after is something we didn't like. The injured body of Cormier lay motionless on the Co-Operators Centre ice for what seemed like forever.
Medical staff were quickly on the ice to attend to the young lady, but what happened next is 20 minutes that you just hate as a broadcaster.
There is just one camera for the Fasthockey operation of the Esso Cup. The fine folks at Access have provided a camera right by our broadcast location so that those wherever can follow the game whether it be live or archived. There is no replay capability so we couldn't see what had happened.
What had been an entertaining broadcast all of a sudden meant nothing. All that matters is the health of the young athlete who is laying on the ice. You want to think that its nothing serious and that every safety precaution is being made. You don't want to think the worst and worst of all, you have to keep talking and talking about something that you really don't want to. It was awkward for me, it was awkward for Kelly, it was awkward for our camera guy who was focusssed on Cormier being worked on and then taken off the ice to a stretcher that took her to a nearby ambulance. What was worse for me was knowing a lot of parents in Moncton were watching the game because another parent had told us earlier. Were Monica's parents watching?What were they thinking? Should I tell the cameraman to find another shot or will the parents want to see every move that is being made with their daughter. Its something I haven't encountered before and its something I don't really want to encounter again. After the game, we were glad to learn Cormier was smiling as she left the ice and that she had suffered only a concussion. I would have loved to have known that before our broadcast ended, but I'm sure those that needed to know did know via cellphone or text.
The incident overshadowed what was a great game between the Atlantic and Western reps, one that ended with Notre Dame winning in overtime as they came back from a 4-1 deficit. It wasn't the only overtime game of the day. The host Regina Rebels scored late in the 3rd to tie it and then won it when Brooklyn Moskowy capitalized on a mistake by Edmonton goalie Morgan Glover to shove it past her sending the solid crowd at the CoC into a state of happiness as the Rebels won 2-1. One would think that should put Regina into the semi-finals on Friday. It should be a good time at the rink tonight as Notre Dame plays the Rebels. Word has it the buses will be coming en masse from Wilcox.
All I saw in the NHL playoffs last night was the overtime in Denver. All I can say though after seeing the scores is this.
--Ottawa is done.
--I don't like my pick of Chicago over Buffalo in the Cup final
--I told you Philly might pull off a big 1st round upset
--Had they lost, the Sharks might have been trying to find a way to prevent Craig Anderson from being in the rink for Game 5.
--My playoff draft team sucks. Memo to Dan Bylsma--please put Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal on a line with Sid for Game 5.
--Phoenix and Detroit are going 7
The NFL sked is out. Can someone please tell me what the hell the New York Giants have done to deserve 4 prime-time games in the first half of the season. ?????? How many of you have already started wondering about a holiday that coincides with an NFL game. (BLOGGER RAISES HIS HAND!)
Calgary takes control of the WHL East final with a 6-3 win over Brandon. That doesn't disappoint me----not one bit.
When does Hockey Canada name the host venue for the 2011 Royal Bank Cup. Rumour has it the event is either going to Humboldt or Port Alberni, BC.
I still think "Hot Tub Time Machine" looks dumb, but as a child of the 80's, do I need to see this movie before it comes on the movie channels.
Whoever is in charge of the music at the CoOperators Centre during the Esso Cup has to stop with the slow country ballads. Nothing against Taylor Swift, but I don't need to hear "Teardrops on my Guitar" at a hockey game. Same with Whiskey Lullaby. Give me some hard rock dammit! Actually some hard rock with some altoids or some Fishermens Friend.
If they can have a baby crawl, why can't we have something where 80 year olds race in their motorized scooters? WHAT??!
Go to your Wednesday now.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Some would suggest a salary cap is the only way to make the field a level playing one. Kansas City simply can't compete year after year with the Yankees, the Twins have done a great job of being a small-market franchise, but they can't do it by themselves. Other teams seemingly don't want to follow the Twins model.
If teams like the Jays are going to suffer at the gate, perhaps they need to try and lower ticket prices. Yeah, in this day and age that sounds dumb, but if you are going to get 10-thousand people at 50 bucks a pop. Why not see what happens when tickets are 20 bucks each. Don't just do it for the Yankees and Red Sox when they come to town, do it for all games. I'd rather have 40-thousand in the park at 20 bucks apiece than paying 50 bucks for 10 thousand. The sad thing is with greed playing such a part in today's sports, teams won't do this. They already would be if they could.
Day 2 of the Esso Cup is in the books, and its anyones guess as to who might play in the final. It would seem to me after being there for all the action that the Atlantic and Quebec reps are a bit overmatched, but Edmonton, Notre Dame, Thunder Bay and the host Rebels have all shown flashes of brilliance. Day 3 is tomorrow. Some say its womens hockey, forget it. Yeah, you aren't going to see Canada-US at the Olympics, but you are going to see a decent hockey game. The Edmonton-Thunder Bay game yesterday was a very entertaining contest. If you can, check it out and check out the new Co-Operators Centre. It is a venue to behold. It is a venue though where there may be a Reid Pedersen sighting so beware. Consider yourself warned!
The Habs play so well on the road against the Caps and then go THUD! From what I saw, Montreal looked terrible last nite in dropping a 4-1 decision. Buffalo ebat Boston to take a 2-1 advantage. I would think the Sabres would bounce back in their series with Buffalo. As expected, its a series for the tender, whatever guys allows three is seemingly the loser. C'mon Ryan Miller, I took your team to get to the finals so don't bounce me out now.
The NFL schedule comes out tomorrow. I can start planning my Sundays. I'm not the only one. Yeah I know, I know. Sundays means nothing gets done once the first Sunday hits. Yes, you're right, but the missus deserves to know when hubby invokes his cone of silence for another year. It may also give me a chance depending on when it happens to convince Vanstone to go to Denver to see his beloved Broncos get crushed by the mighty Seahawks. Just like it was four years ago on a very cold night when Josh Brown connected on a 52 yarder on the last play of the game to give Seattle a victory.
Is CMT ever bringing back Lindsay Stone?
Can I finish this before going to the land of Z's. I'd better stop or the answer will be no. Two days into the Esso Cup and my voice hasn't given way yet as I do games for fasthockey.com. Keep your fingers crossed that I can do it for three. That's all I got. Its time for the head to meet pillow.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
If it wasn't for Anderson, Antti Niemi would be the story of this night in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After costing his team Game 1, Niemi got back in goal for Game 2 (how did that make you feel Cristobal Huet) and he rewarded Joel Quenneville by blanking Nashville 2-0 to even that series at 1.
I thought Philly could beat the Devils and so far I'm right. The Flyers just seem to have the Devils number and they take Game 3 in overtime on a Dan Carcillo goal. Why is Dan Carcillo even on the ice in overtime?
Pittsburgh beats Ottawa 4-2 and Phoenix beat Detroit by the same score meaning the Pens and Desert Dogs are up 2-1.
The Esso Cup has started. After a lacklustre game to open the tournament between Moncton and Richelieu, Quebec with the Atlantic squad winning 4-1, it picked up in the afternoon game as Notre Dame beat Edmonton 5-2 with Hounds forward Taylor Woods scoring a goal that would be as nice in womens midget hockey as it would be in the pros. She stole the puck from an Edmonton defenceman in front of the net, whirled around and roofed one to give the Hounds an early 2-0 lead. It would be highlight of the night material if TSN was doing the game----or if for some reason the TSN people hacked into the Fasthockey broadcast. The nightcap was also a dandy as Thunder Bay beat the host Regina Rebels 2-1 in a back and forth game that kept the crowd on its edge. Day 2 is tomorrow. You can follow the action by going to www.hockeycanada.com
It looks like that volcano in Iceland is going to disrupt RAW tonight. Wrestlers from the RAW brand can't get back to North America after doing their thing in Europe for the last week. They are stranded. Plans right now is for the Monday show to be done by Smackdown wrestlers. Vince won't be happy---especially when this is leading into a PPV. Don't mess with Mother Nature Vinnie...you can't win!
To get your Monday off on the right foot, check out what happened at this ball game in Reno on the weekend. OOPS!