These are the weekends sports fans live for. Baseball opens up, the Final 4 is wrapping up, the second to last weekend of the NHL season has hit with many things to decide and oh yes, it was WrestleMania weekend, but for the first time in a long time around southern Saskatchewan, both the Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors have made it to the second round of the WHL playoffs. How long has it been? 1991!
The 5 game wins by both teams over Lethbridge and Prince Albert have fans salivating in both cities over the potential of a Regina-Moose Jaw Eastern Conference final. Can you imagine! It might send Kelly Remple overboard, but then again if he didn't do that after the Vikings loss in this year's NFL playoffs, nothing may do that.
Goaltending is big in the playoffs, and both Tyler Brown and Zach Sawchenko have been stellar in their respective nets in Round 1, so who knows. We can only hope it happens. If it does, it will be special and it will revive a rivalry that is somewhat dead as far as I'm concerned. The Pats will play Red Deer and it looks like Moose Jaw will have a date against Brandon meaning both Regina and the Warriors will be the underdog. That's fine!
Is it just me or do the defending Grey Cup champs have an extremely thin skin? A few weeks ago, I suggested the Calgary Stampeders were the top team in the West and that had Odell Willis chime in on Twitter asking about my sanity. Bo Levi Mitchell also decided to comment saying he would tend to agree with me (shocking) and that 2016 will be a lot of fun because of the changes we have seen. Let's fast forward to Friday in the Sportscage when the voice of the Riders---Rod Pedersen---stated he thought the Riders would finish first in the West. Whoever runs the CFL News twitter account put that statement on his blog and KABOOM!!!! The Eskimos went off with Mike Reilly and Nate Coehoorn making comments with Coehoorn apologizing after for what he had said. As Sportscage insider Arash Madani tweeted Saturday afternoon, Rod did more to get CFL fans engaged than the league office has done all season. Can't argue that one bit! I just have to wonder if Rod has some desire to replace Chris Jones as the most hated man in the Edmonton football community. I think he may already have that distinction in Calgary so go for the sweep I guess. For what its worth, I still think Calgary is the top team in the West, but as Bo Levi stated a few weeks ago, this season is going to be fun. I also maintain Paul Lapolice will be coaching the Bombers on Labour Day.
Baseball's opening day is today, but thanks to TV wanting to dictate things, the usual Sunday night opener has morphed into a triple-header. I'm not complaining about that, but the NFL doesn't have multiple games on opening night and it would seem baseball is moving away from the tradition it has had, but it gives fans who maybe can't sit down in front of their TV all day on Monday to watch some games Sunday. As is the case going into every baseball season, there are so many questions to ask including who will be declared World Series champions. The Blue Jays are in the equation, but so are many other teams. I think this is going to be a great season. Strap yourself in and get ready for the ride----unless of course you are a Phillies, Braves, Athletics or Orioles fan.
The last "Battle of Alberta" went at Rexall Place Saturday night and it was a one sided affair as the Flames slapped the Oilers around to a tune of 5-0. The last home game at that shrine on 118th Avenue in Edmonton will be Wednesday night when Vancouver visits. I am not sure why the Flames were not the last visiting team to play at Rexall, and I don't understand why the last game is on a Wednesday night and not a Saturday. The place isn't being torn down from what I understand----at least not for a while as the World Mens Curling Championship is going to be played there with other events scheduled as well, but a place that holds a lot of great memories for me---some of them non-hockey related will be gone. The same can be said for another building I know come November of this year.
There is a very good argument as to whether or not Connor McDavid should be the NHL's rookie of the year. I think the argument may have ended with Artemi Panarin's 4 point afternoon against Boston and the MVP race may have ended too after Patrick Kane's game against the Bruins. These guys have to be the front-runners. I understand those thinking McDavid has a shot, but even this Oilers fan would have a tough time voting for #97 considering what Panarin and Philly's Shayne Gostibehere have done.
To cap off the weekend, it was Wrestlemania 32 at Jerry World with the WWE saying over 103-thousand took in the event with god knows how many watching around the world. It had its moments, but it also left me scratching my head somewhat over what had transpired with hopefully some questions being answered on Monday Night RAW. Questions like who thought it was a good idea giving Zack Ryder the intercontinental championship, what exactly was the Rock trying to accomplish and where the hell was Vince McMahon. However, Stephanie McMahon coming out looking like Britney Spears or a girl you would see in an 80's heavy metal rock video and the leap off the cage by Shane McMahon certainly were the highlights of the night. Wrestlemania is one of those events where the "inner geek" of many seemingly come out and they are giving it for the most part a solid "MEH" in their evaluation of the event.
It's too bad we couldn't get a chance to see this year's Golden State Warriors against the
95-96 Bulls. I think Jordan and company would give them a solid run and perhaps win, but they wouldn't do it in four straight as Scottie Pippen has suggested. The only way we will find out is by going through one of those simulaton websites like whatifsports.com and even then, you wouldn't get a true answer.
If you are reading this in Saskatchewan, do the right thing and vote today. It was a very uninspiring campaign and in the end, we will likely be in the same spot as we were when Brad Wall called the election, but the bottom line is to go wherever you have to go and cast your ballot.
That's all I got. Have a great week!