Welcome to Friday and the usual set of weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order.
--Have you seen the video from the Saskatchewan Roughriders about what the football operation of the new Mosaic Stadium is going to look like? It is amazing! Yes, I am guessing what the Bombers and Ti-Cats have in their new digs is amazing as well, and I am guessing the Argos will have much nicer facilities than what they had (did they have any?) at BMO Field, but this is impressive and evens out that playing field even more, It is a huge improvement from what they have now and that is likely an understatement, Is it June yet? Is it June of 2017 yet? Actually, let's back up on that last question because I am aging quickly enough.
The University of Regina Cougars womens basketball team will try to get back to familiar territory this weekend as they compete at the Canada West final four. A win tonight against Grant McEwan will send them to the CIS National Championship in Fredricton, New Brunswick. If they should lose, they will get a second shot as Canada West sends three teams to the event this year. An appearance at the nationals is nothing new for this program, In the last 20 years, Christine Stapleton, Jeff Speedy and now Dave Taylor have been at the nationals a dozen times. In those 20 years, they have been to four finals winning just once.
Make no doubt about it, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies are favoured to win Canada West, and the CIS title and for good reason. Lisa Thomaidis has a very good squad, but Dave Taylor's squad found a way to beat them at the end of the regular season and in a one game matchup if it should happen, it is a toss-up as to who will win, There isn't a lot separating the two teams so it will be a damn good one.
I am fully expecting to see a Cougars-Huskies battle for the Canada West championship on Saturday night, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Cougars and Huskies playing in Fredricton for "The Bronze Baby". Good luck to Dave and crew.
--The Canadian Hockey League (the WHL, OHL and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) executive met this week with fighting in junior hockey on the agenda. Say what you will, but fighting isn't going anywhere and won't be going anywhere until the NHL decides it is going to ban fighting. This just in---the NHL isn't going to allow that to happen. How many times do fights start and the fans get out of their seats and start yelling in NHL arenas, Major junior leagues don't do anything until it happens in the NHL and then they do it as the best developmental league in the world gets their players ready for the next level,. The debate about fighting in the game can go on forever and there are solid arguments on both sides. The bottom line though is junior hockey won't be banning dropping the mitts until it happens in the NHL. They probably want to, but they won't.
--Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week he wants a Canadian woman on a bank note by the year 2018 and they are now looking for suggestions. Can I nominate Trish Stratus? Hayley Wickenheiser? In all seriousness, I am interested to see where this ends up, and who is chosen considering they want someone who died before 1991.
--I am not sure what shocked me more 1) The fact Denver lost quarterback Brock Osweiler just days after Peyton Manning's retirement 2) The fact the Houston Texans are giving a relatively unproven Osweiler 18 million a year over the next four years or 3) The Broncos are supposedly looking at Colin Kaepernick as a replacement. Speaking of Manning, his retirement press conference was a dandy that ended with his trademark OMAHA, but was I the only one waiting for Papa John to interrupt the proceedings with a delivery to all of those who had assembled?
--Still with Manning, I am shocked at how many people are saying he is the GOAT when it comes to quarterbacks. Take nothing away from what Peyton accomplished, but the GOAT in my mind is Joe Montana. You have to also put Tom Brady ahead of Manning even though Peyton won more head to head battles, and one could argue Brett Favre ahead of Peyton as well as Dan Marino and arguably Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman. If you had one NFL quarterback to be on your team for the big game, who are you taking? There is no doubt though that Peyton will be a first ballot HOF'er
--Paul McCallum is also going to the HOF one day. Where does the 45 year old rank when it comes to all-time kicking greats. He has to be right up there with Ridgway and Passaglia,
--I am at the Tim Hortons in downtown Regina on Wednesday about to get a coffee when a woman in front of me walks up to the till and proceeds to tell the girl that their bread is too hard and it hurts her gums and sometimes cuts them. She then proceeds to order a sandwich! ????? HUH??!! For what its worth, there is nothing wrong with Tim Hortons bread!
--There is something wrong with the Tim Hortons Brier if you are a Saskatchewan curling fan. Once again, the Tankard will not be coming to rest in Saskatchewan as Steve Laycock did not have a good week. With the field in attendance, a playoff spot may have been too much to ask, but Laycock curls against the Gushues, Koes, Jacobs and Howards all the time on the tour and he is able to handle himself. I don't know what it is going to take to get Saskatchewan back in the winners circle at the Brier. I don't even know if CURLSASK's new executive director Ashley Howard has the answer to that. I think her accepting that position as she takes over for Amber Holland is a great hire for curling in this province. She is going to be fantastic at it and will hopefully take the sport to the next level in this province.
--The voice of the Pats Phil Andrews was discussing the future of Pats forward Adam Brooks on "Sportscage" this week, and he brought up a very interesting thing. One I had never really thought of before. Brooks has not been drafted, and with the season he is having, he will very likely be a mid to late round pick as a 19 year old on draft day. Phil said not getting drafted wouldn't be the worst thing for Brooks as he could then pick and choose where he wanted to go as a free agent much like former Pat and current Moose Jaw Warrior Dryden Hunt. If you are chosen like Colby Williams, you are property of an NHL team. If you are not, you get to decide if there are multiple offers which is the best fit for you. Hunt chose Florida when a few teams were chasing him and Brooks may very well have that decision as well. By the way, can someone please explain to me how the hell former Pats coach Malcolm Cameron didn't give Brooks a chance to succeed when it is obvious he had the talent to. Brooks must thank John Paddock every day for giving him an opportunity to shine.
--Still with the Pats, it should be a playoff type atmosphere at both the Brandt Centre and Mosaic Place this weekend as the two teams meet. Going into the final days of the season, teams continue to jockey for playoff positioning and no one really knows who is playing who yet. I have no problem with that!
--This NHL draft simulator isn't addicting at all. If you haven't already, give it a whirl by clicking here. If this means anything when I do it, there will be a lot of Winnipeg Jets fans getting Auston Matthews jerseys.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!