Monday, February 24, 2014
Something To "Mitch" About
The Winter Olympics end on a high again for Canada as we once again show our hockey dominance. The World Juniors may not be the piece of cake it once was, but when it comes to the pros, Canada is still the best and that was proven again on the Sochi ice. I will be the first to admit I didn't think Canada would blank both the Americans and Swedes to win gold and I will be the first to admit I thought goaltending would be our weak link. We never really got a chance to see if goaltending was our weak link, because Carey Price didn't really have to make any difficult saves against the US and Swedes. He just got in the way of the puck and that is all that matters as we win gold.
Drew Doughty and Shea Weber are definitely the stars of that blueline, but Bouwmeester, Vlasic, Pieterangelo and Keith were all fantastic. Who needs a summit? We don't!
For all the bitching and moaning we did before the tournament about why this guy was on and why this guy wasn't, we forgot Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock know a little bit about this game. They knew what they wanted and they put together the roster that would produce that. As Canadian hockey fans, we owe a huge debt of gratitude for Yzerman for what he has done the last two Olympics. The guy has proven himself to be as shrewd off the ice as he was on it. If you missed it, Yzerman resigned as executive director in the hours after the gold-medal win saying he didn't want to go another four years doing what he's done. I completely understand that and say thank you Steve for what you have done. You united a country for at least one day and that's a hard thing to do these days.
I think its safe to say seeing the Canadian men get the gold was the marquee moment for us, but what other moments do you take away from Sochi? Marie Phillippe-Poulin's efforts in the womens hockey game, the pure elation on the face of Jennifer Jones as she delivered her last rock knowing she and her team were Olympic champions, Mark McMorris winning bronze with a broken rib. There are so many you can take away. While some like McMorris have turned themselves into a Canadian celebrity with their performance, others like Charles Hamelin, the Dupont-Lapointe sisters, Denny Morrison and Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse will just fade back as their 15 minutes is over. Its 15 minutes we won't forget, but those names are names we won't spend time watching again until the next Olympics if they are still around. All in all, I think we are once again very proud of what was accomplished by our men and women on the international stage.
Saskatchewan started the medal parade with McMorris and ended it with Getzlaf, Kunitz and Marleau.
I don't think we can really complain about CBC's coverage of the games. They were exceptional as they brought us everything and I mean everything that we needed to know.
Olympic withdrawal begins now.
Congratulations to Dave Taylor and his U of R womens basketball team for dispatching of Victoria on the weekend and moving on to the Canwest Final Four. Dave will argue it wasn't, but it was relatively easy for the girls this weekend as the Vikes just looked like they didn't belong on the same court as the powerful Regina girls. Taylor was upset with them after Game 1 as evidenced by his conversation with the Leader-Post's Ian Hamilton in Saturday's paper, but while his second stringers were in the game when Victoria started to get their game together, that is no excuse as Taylor demands excellence from player 1-12 on that lineup. Its why I think that even though they don't have their top player in Nicole Clarke that they will earn another trip to nationals and have a chance to do what happened here last year and do to Windsor what they did to the Cougars and win it all on their floor.
Congratulations also goes out to the Cougar mens track team for winning the Canada West championships, The track team doesn't get the ink the football team, the basketball team or the hockey team gets but they are just as much a piece of the U of R athletics fabric and they deserve their moment. U of R SIO Braden Konschuh says there might not be a harder working bunch than the track team so they deserve every accolade they get.
While we are at it, a big congrats also goes to Sarah Hodges and her womens hockey team. They went into Edmonton and beat the #1 ranked Pandas in Canada West semi-final action. It means the Cougars will head to Saskatoon next weekend for the Canada West finals as they take on the Huskies. Its the first time the team has been to the conference finals since 2003. Nice job ladies.
There's a couple of weeks left to go and I'm sure this will have some cringing over at the Brandt Centre, but the Scruffy decision desk is giving the WHL Eastern Division to the Regina Pats. I wasn't at either game this weekend due to Cougar commitments, but they knocked off two of the best teams in the league in Victoria and Calgary on home ice. With 10 games to go, they have a solid chance at winning 40 (34 right now), they are six up on Swift Current and eight up on Brandon. One thing is for certain and that's playoff hockey is about to return to the Brandt Centre. When do we start talking Malcolm Cameron for WHL coach of the year and GM Chad Lang for executive of the year. Chad has made two very positive trades with Medicine Hat that worked out with Boston Leier and Daniel Wapple coming over. Cameron has just taken what he was given and made the most out of it. I don't think anyone at the start of the year thought this team could win 20-25 games much less 40. Its been a while since the Pats made the 2nd round of the playoffs, but this just might be the year.
Hulk Hogan returns to the WWE tonight-----YAWWWWWNNNNNN!!!! He is supposedly coming to WrestleMania 30 as a host. This is good because any thoughts of him taking on John Cena or the Undertaker may make me decide not to watch the event. As it is, the WWE has to do something because fans don't want to see Randy Orton against Dave Batista in the main event. Why they won't give Daniel Bryan his time as champ is beyond me.
It saddens me and baffles me somewhat to think the new Tim Hortons Field won't be ready to go in Hamilton by the time its needed. The Ontario government has apparently told the Ti-Cats to make contingency plans. The Ti-Cats are confident it won't be a problem. Have we not seen this before? With so much excitement about Ottawa being back, it will be a kick in the gut to the league if Tim Hortons Field isn't ready for the Ti-Cats. Their fan base accepted one year in Guelph, but I can't see them accepting a second year especially when the future looks so bright for Kent Austin and crew. Lets just hope the field is ready to go. Remember this when the city and the Riders take it slow on building our new facility and don't give a drop-dead date.
The CFL draft will go five days after the NFL draft. This means CFL teams won't be gambling on players who have NFL aspirations. I'm guessing if the Ti-Cats could do it all over again they wouldn't have taken Linden Gaydosh number 1 knowing he was going to sign with Carolina a few days later. Teams will maybe now take "flyers" on these guys in hopes NFL dreams fail, but they aren't going to invest high picks in them.
The story about the Cleveland Browns offering all their draft picks to San Francisco for coach Jim Harbaugh is laughable. A coach? As much as I dislike the guy, Harbaugh is a good coach with talent around him. He wouldn't have that talent in Cleveland and his record wouldn't nearly be what its been with the 49ers. He would be walking into a losing situation. If the Browns were serious with this, they need some help and a lot of it.
High Impact Wrestling star (and I use that term loosely) El Asesino is using Facebook to chirp myself and High Impact play-by-play man Pete Paczko before the two of us start doing our thing in earnest for Access. Asesino, who is about as Mexican as I am, needs to concentrate on his in-ring battles and not his outside ones if you ask me. The stars of HIW do their thing Thursday at the Hungarian Club in TV tapings. Get out there and support these guys. They work hard and get little recognition. They are also starting to strike a chord with an audience that is seemingly growing with each show.
That's all I got. Have a great week!