Monday, May 9, 2016
Something to "Mitch" About
--It has been proven time and time again sports can be a powerful healer when adversity strikes. One doesn't have to look further than the days following 9-11 when the World Series continued at Yankees Stadium with President Bush throwing out the first pitch. The U-S was reeling after the attacks on the World Trade Center. The emotions were raw and they were many. The games returned, people came to the stadium of choice and did what they always do---they lived their lives while rooting for their teams.
As I watch the devastation in Fort McMurray, I can't help but wonder if sports can help this community get back on its feet. The WMBL was scheduled to go to Fort McMurray this year with the debut of the Giants. I just don't see that happening now. With all the properties lost, homes for possible players have been lost and that is just the tip of the iceberg. As the summer turns into fall though, I can't help but wonder if the CFL would return to Fort McMurray for a game, would the Oilers and Flames stage an exhibition game in Fort Mac. Would the WHL hold a pre-season tournament? Would the Alberta Junior Hockey League do something? When people start to go home and put their lives together, they will need something to get away from the hell they have been through, I hope sports can provide them with a little solace, but right now it is obviously wayyyyyy too early to even think about what can be done.
--The first two games of the WHL final have been outstanding. The Seattle Thunderbirds are two shots away from going home 2-0, but a pair of greasy goals in overtime have put Brandon two wins away from heading to Red Deer for the Memorial Cup. Yes, Tanner Kaspick showed great hand-eye co-ordination to bat the winner in for the Game 1 victory, but Jayce Hawryluk's OT winner in Game 2 was just ugly. One part of me feels this series is over, but another tells me Seattle could very well head back to Brandon with a 3-2 lead. The hockey has been that good. What also was very good was the return of Peter Loubardias to the booth. It sounded like he hadn't missed a beat.
--Seeing Bruce Boudreau in Minnesota is not a surprise. This makes me wonder though if the Flames are having second thoughts about getting rid of Bob Hartley. From what I have heard out of Cowtown, Hartley's goose started to get cooked after the Super Bowl incident where Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan missed practice the morning after because they were "too ill" to participate after watching the game. Word is they want someone who is a little tougher behind the bench. They wouldn't look to an old alumni and give Tim Hunter a call would they?
--We are now 48 hours away from the CFL draft. Are the Riders going to keep that number one pick? You have to know Chris Jones is getting phone calls. I still don't think they are making the first selection, but if the deal isn't right, they won't give it away for nothing.
--I don't know when he will be healthy enough to play, but the Eric Norwood signing by the Riders is huge. It gives a nice 3 man rotation with Shawn Lemon and Justin Capicotti. This guy was a stud when he was with Hamilton.
--If what I am hearing is correct, the new Riders jersey will see them be all green. I don't know if I am crazy about that look. I guess I need to see it before I make a decision. I just hope there is a decent amount of white in there. If not, I fear Co-Op will start with pickles as their food choice for the year.
--Sportsnet's Gregg Zaun went on a rather lengthy rant Sunday before the Dodgers-Jays game about holding umpires accountable to terrible calls. He brought up the touchy subject of making umps defend themselves to reporters about controversial calls while showing a couple from behind the plate that were balls called as strikes. Much is made about officiating and instant replay, but if a pool reporter (one person who shares material with all) were to ask questions about a controversial call, would it be good or bad for the sport. Many in the CFL would like to know why this was or wasn't called. I think there is more harm than good with this idea, but it is something I think shouldn't be discounted altogether. As I have often said, if a player makes a mistake during a game, he is asked about it. Shouldn't the same be said about the umpire or referee?
--Are the Tampa Bay Lightning that good or are they taking advantage of weaker teams in Detroit and the Islanders? Some thought Detroit would beat the Lightning without Stamkos and Anton Stralman, but that didn't happen and many others thought the Islanders might be able to sneak by Tampa as well. I would think the answer is they are that good----at least at the midway point of the playoffs.
--That's all I got. Have a great week!