Monday, February 9, 2015
Something To "Mitch" About
As I sat at the University of Regina Friday night doing my thing as public address announcer for the U of R Cougars basketball team, my phone would not stay quiet with one text after another.
"Where are you?", "Are you at the Delta"? Have you talked to Jon Ryan?", How come you're not on with Rod this afternoon? Many people I knew were at the Kinsmen Sports Dinner at the Delta featuring Jon, Ray Bourque, Geroy Simon and former Regina CTV Sports personality Julie Stewart-Binks who is now doing a great job for FOX Sports 1 in the US working alongside Jay Onrait, Dan O'Toole and the magnificent Charissa Thompson.
From the pictures I saw and the comments I was getting, it sounds like a great time. I had the opportunity to go---in fact I had more than one individual ask if I wanted to go and if the truth be told, I would have loved to. However, I wasn't going to let the Cougars down at the last minute. I don't do those type of things and try to give people as much warning as possible that I'll be unavailable if there is a conflict.
Who's kidding who. With all due respect to the people that put on the dinner here because it is a great one year after year after year, I think most people in that room would have rather been in Saskatoon at their dinner where the great Gordie Howe made what could very well be his last public appearance at a dinner there with hockey's royalty. It would have been a very cool night to be in the same place as Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Brett Hull, and many other hockey types to pay tribute to Mr. Hockey who looked fantastic considering everything he has been through. Elliotte Friedman (in my mind, the best sports journalist in this country) wrote a fantastic piece on Sportsnet.ca on Gordie's visit to Saskatoon, You can read it right here.
The Rider Nation is all abuzz as CFL free agency is here. Why haven't I seen endless ads on TSN promoting CFL free agent frenzy the way they do the NHL? Why isn't Dave Naylor giving us constant updates on just where Kendial Lawrence could be headed and for how much? Yes, that drips with sarcasm, but I haven't heard a lot from the guys on TSN about CFL free agency and rumours that are out there the way they do when NHL free agency hits and TSN is the home of the CFL, It would be nice if they could help fan the free agency flames somewhat, but they're too busy consumed by what the Leafs are doing.
One potential Rider free agent who hasn't signed a deal yet is running back and special teams ace Neal Hughes. I've always been a Neal Hughes fan from my days of doing Rams play by play on CJME and I loved the fact he signed with the Riders one day after being snubbed in the draft when it was suggested he could go late 2nd-early 3rd round. Neal's foot is still bothering him after he hurt it last year. It sounds to me as if he is ready for retirement if the phone doesn't ring, but he will certainly try to give it one more shot and hope the foot co-operates. Lets just put it this way, I think Hughes will be one of those kids whose CFL career was spent with one team and that's it.
Speaking of which, I guess the Edmonton Oilers showed the Leafs a thing or two on Saturday night. That is don't start thinking you're the worst team in the NHL yet. You're going to have a suck a lot more than you do already if you think you are in Connor MacDavid category.
He's a Calgary Flames fan, but Weyburn's Graham DeLaet very accurately summed it up in a tweet this weekend that got a lot of attention. DeLaet simply put "If Connor McDavid becomes a Leaf, I will puke". Well said Graham!
If all hockey was played like the Chicago-St. Louis game that was on NBC Sunday afternoon, there would be no problems with the game whatsoever. That contest was hockey the way it is supposed to be played,
Are the L-A Kings going to make the playoffs? What has happened to them.
A sincere thank you to everyone involved with both the mens and womens basketball programs at the University of Regina for once again allowing me to have the best seat in the house and serve as p-a announcer for their games. They provided many with another season of some entertaining basketball and that should continue for a long time. Dave Taylor is one of the country's best and there is no sign of his team not being in the talk as one of this country's best stopping anytime soon, while Steve Burrows is starting to assemble the type of team he wants and there is a lot of talent there that could be ready to explode next season. It would be great to see that team (and other University teams) get some more people watching them because they are more than deserving of your support. That support will have to come starting next year as losses to UBC likely means the women will do their playoff thing on the road while the men will be spectators.
The first Sunday until June where there was no football. SIGHHHHHH!!!
As expected, I've taken many shots this week from many people over the end of the Super Bowl. That's fine...I knew they were coming. Just remember, there isn't a better team in the NFC right now and chances are Seattle gets back to a 3rd straight title game next year. If they do, they won't lose that one! The 12's will rise again!!!
It was great to walk into a 7-11 Friday afternoon as the magazine guy was bringing in the first baseball previews of the year. I grabbed a Sporting News one before the clerk could even get it onto the shelf. With everything online these days, there is no need to buy some magazines, but you have to have a hard copy of the baseball and football preview mags in front of you. Its a must is it not?
The Atlanta Hawks are the best team in the NBA? Can NBA fans name three members of that team? I don't think I can, but yes I am not the NBA aficionado that others are.
I checked out the 2nd half of the Raptors-Spurs win (no thanks to the Grammys) and it was a reminder as to how exciting the Raptors can be. They aren't playing at the level they were a month ago, but they are fun to watch and it should be interesting to see what happens come playoff time.
Finally, back to back wins over Saskatoon and Spokane on the weekend have the Regina Pats at the 30 win mark which is a place I don't think many including myself thought they would be at the beginning of the season, John Paddock has certainly done some great things for this club, Truthfully, I haven't been all that excited about the team this year for a variety of reasons---one of them being their home dates conflict a lot with things like Cougar basketball or Locker Talk or something else so I haven't been as invested in the team as I normally would. You can't help but notice what is happening at the Brandt Centre though and it shouldn't be much longer until the team clinches home ice in the first round and what will be a date against Swift Current. Will this be the year the Pats get past the first round of the playoffs? Right now, you would say yes, but we will see what the case is when the rubber hits the road as the Broncos will be a formidable task thanks to one Jake DeBrusk.