The Western Hockey League season is open. The Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos lifted the lid on the 2013-2014 season with the Broncos taking it in a one-sided affair by a score of 7-2. This was not indicative (at least I hope it wasn't) of what it will be like for the hometown boys this year. They looked nervous and on opening night how can't they be---they are kids. I won't sit here and try and tell you this team is going to go deep in the playoffs, but I think they can fight for 3rd in the East with Moose Jaw and Brandon and perhaps finish 6th, 7th or 8th in the first round. One game does not a season make.
I had to laugh at the game because some boneheads sitting behind me were just constantly yammering at why Pats coach Malcolm Cameron wouldn't pull starting goalie Dawson McAuley who was having a tough nite and put in backup Teagan Sacher. I didn't stay where I was for the first two periods in the third, but Sacher was no better allowing two goals on his first two shots. I wonder what the clowns had to say then. It sometimes is laughable.
I was driving over to the Brandt Centre from the 620 CKRM headquarters when I heard Pats owner Russ Parker on the Sportscage. Kelly Remple asked Russ if his excitement level has changed any on this the 19th season opener. I thought Kelly had his math wrong as there was no way the Parkers had had control for 19 years until I started doing the math. I then felt very old. SIGHHHH!!!
The LP's Rob Vanstone asked a great question in his weekly "Robservations" column. R-V wanted to know if Regina had perhaps seen its last NHL pre-season game because of a less than stellar crowd at the Islanders-Flames game. With all due respect to R-V, and he did bring it up in the column, the game had virtually no or little star attraction. There aren't a lot of New York Islander fans in these parts and the Calgary Flames don't exactly have a star-studded roster. If the Edmonton Oilers were coming to town with Jordan Eberle or the Winnipeg Jets were here or a team where is there is a devoted fan base like the Hawks. Bruins, Leafs or Habs, the people would have shown up. Its hard to get excited for an Islanders-Flames matchup in the regular season let alone the pre-season. I don't think Regina has seen their last NHL game. Hopefully, the Oilers will return like they were supposed to before the lockout occurred last year.
The great Dan Patrick (perhaps the coolest TV sports personality on the dial right now) had a very interesting discussion with one of his co-hosts during his radio show on Thursday. The conversation revolved around Donovan McNabb and the love-hate relationship he had with the Philadelphia Eagles fan base on a night where they retired his jersey. As I was listening to the conversation, I could have sworn if you substituted Eagles fans for Rider fans and McNabb for Darian Durant, that it could have been a chat heard around these parts. Many in Philly like many here never took to their starting quarterback and wanted him to be removed for various reasons like he never won anything. This even though McNabb had many great years with the Eagles. The whole chat did have striking similarities to the situation here involving Durant and a faction of fans who just won't accept the guy.
Speaking of the Riders, the controversy still swirls about what happened outside that Dewdney Avenue nightclub. I have heard so many stories it makes my head spin. As Jim Hopson said at Mosaic the other day, I don't know if anyone really knows the whole story. Hopson also made another comment which for some reason no one else is picking up on. He said that while this story has been embarrassing for the players involved and the organization, it would seem as if this event which is a negative is overshadowing all the positives the Riders do in the community. Jim is bang on when he says this. The Riders do many great things in the community and players give a lot of their time for different groups and charities. The football team for some strange reason doesn't like to publicize a lot of this, but all of their hard work seemingly goes for naught when something like this happens. I understand the desire to be angry because the players are ambassadors in a way and do represent our city, but lets pull back a little and weigh the positives this football team does under Hopson, GM Brendan Taman and Coach Corey Chamblin against the negatives. The scales are still heavily tipped towards the positives. I sometimes bug Jim about having the easiest job in the province, but that job hasn't been easy for him the past couple of weeks.
The sights and sounds of the terrible bus-train crash in Ottawa were just awful. There is nothing else to say. How could something like that happen? Sadly, we will never know since the bus driver was killed. Part of me would like to hope he had a heart attack or something because if he willingly did that for whatever reason, it would make me sick.
It is wrong on so many levels and shame on me for thinking this, but the story of the Edmonton woman being appalled at what was under the cap of her bottled water just makes me laugh and laugh hard. If you haven't seen the story, click here.
The difference between winning and losing in the NFL. The Chicago Bears and Marc Trestman are 2-0, but they are two plays at the end of the game from being 0-2. There are a lot of teams that have good luck or bad luck in the final minute this year which is great when it comes to parity and excitement.
Did I miss something about Joe Mack being the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. What the hell is that club thinking in trading Trent Richardson. The number 3 draft pick overall played 18 games for the club and was hurt for at least half of those and they've given up on him after paying virtually all of his first contract. This is just inexcusable! If you're a Colts fan, you have to be loving it as your team just got a running game which will take a lot of pressure off of sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck. The Browns may have handed the Colts a trip to a future Super Bowl with this move. That trade just made no sense to me. None!
I'll say this about the Philadelphia Eagles. They are entertaining to watch, but their head coach Chip Kelly has to realize this isn't college anymore. He makes too many mistakes with his high-tempo offence.
NFL Week 3 Lock of the Week----Seahawks over Jags (yeah I'm going out on a limb on that one)
NFL Week 3 Upset of the Week ----Steelers over Bears
I heartily endorse the comments made by Rider defensive back Tyron Brackenridge when asked about his fine by reporters on Thursday. You can hear those comments right here. Geroy Simon is also correct when he asks the CFL why no fine on a helmet-to-helmet hit is issued after the hellacious blow he took when making that one handed catch. Geroy asks if its because he got up. Great question Geroy!
The stars of High Impact Wrestling are back in action tonight at the Hungarian Club. How dare the Riders try and steal their thunder by having the Plaza of Honor dinner on the same night. After all, I'm sure there are many at Plaza that would have gone to HIW and vice-versa. (sarcasm off). Lets just say Regina at two different levels will be on display tonight. At the Hungarian Club, one of sports most entertaining moves will be provided when Principal Richard Pound delivers an eye-poke to some unsuspecting schmuck. All hail Principal Pound!
Speaking of the Plaza, two of my all time favourite Riders are going in this year. How can you not be a Gene Makowsky fan? I was always a big Eddie Davis fan. I'll be co-hosting the Cage with Roddy from Plaza on Friday and I am hoping to get a chance to personally congratulate Eddie on the accomplishment.
My fantasy hockey team will be known as this year as "Dude Brooks Laich a Lady"! I will still be keeping "The Fast and The Fleuryous" for a keeper league I am in. Yes, I do question my sanity from time-to-time.
A really good debate started this week on Facebook about radio shows that aren't local that are being played in the local marketplace. I personally think its a giant crock of you know what and its an embarrassment to the community to try and pretend to be local when you are not while others don't feel that way saying its perfectly fine. In the end, it depends on the listener and what he or she wants.
I simply love the "Etchs and O's" segments on Sportscage with former Riders defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry. I would love to sit down and watch a game with him whether it be CFL, CIS, NCAA or NFL just to see what he is seeing. Etch isn't the most polished speaker or upbeat speaker, but he is extremely factual and outstanding to listen to.
Smile. It might not make our problems disappear, but it will stop people from asking what's wrong with us.
Have a great weekend!! GO RIDERS AND GO SEAHAWKS!