Welcome to the NHL's newest arena, and what will become the centrepiece of downtown Edmonton if it isn't already. Welcome to the newly opened Rogers Place in Edmonton where Sunday night, I took in the Sabres-Oilers matchup.
They are as proud of this rink in Edmonton as we are for the new Mosaic Stadium. It isn't hard to see what it has done to the downtown core. I have been in downtown Edmonton at times where its pretty quiet on Jasper Avenue and the surrounding streets, but they were full both Saturday night (a Kanye West concert was happening) and on Sunday night as many could be seen wearing their jerseys or something with the Oiler logo on it.
This is "Ford Hall" where fans can congregate before the game with a variety of things to enjoy. This picture was taken just as the gates were opening, but it is jammed with hockey fans.
Speaking of which, here come those fans as the doors open. By the way, I thought the Oilers 86ed the Octane girls, but as you can see, they are still there and as one can imagine are quite popular with the 18-49 male demographic, especially when they are found around this place.
Like it is in any stadium, the price for a cold one is extravagant, but business ain't sufferin!
These made their way from the old rink to the new one. They look fabulous. Hopefully, one Mr. McDavid can help get a 6th and maybe more in future years. Of course, they will need better goaltending than they received Sunday. Cam Talbot has had better nights. Letting one skip past you from center ice doesn't help the confidence any, and Talbot is quickly becoming a worry amongst the fan-base who love what they see from McDavid, Eberle, Draisaitl, Russell and Larsson. No one is seemingly bemoaning the loss of Taylor Hall either.
OOPS: The bus ride to Edmonton for the University of Regina Rams was not the greatest due to weather as the team had to drive through a winter storm from North Battleford to the Alberta capital. While the bus ride home was much smoother, the mood on the bus couldn't have been a happy one as Regina let the University of Alberta Golden Bears hang around and hang around and hang around with the Bears eventually getting a field goal with less than a 30 seconds to go for their first win of the year.
Photo: Edmonton Sun
Fumbles killed the Rams on a cool Saturday afternoon as Noah Picton and Atlee Simon had troubles twice with the handoff with Picton unable to handle a high snap. All three plays were killers--especially with one in the redzone.
The biggest play to me came right near the end of the first half. Rams d-back Jeff Propp had an interception in his hands, but he was inadvertently hit by a teammate causing him to lose the ball resulting in an incompletion. It allowed Alberta to get a field goal to close the deficit to 12-6. It gave them a spark though that they carried through the second half.
That's a tough loss for Regina, and one that when you look at the stat sheet never should have happened. They will have a tough chore in front of them Friday when UBC comes to town. They handled the T-Birds in Vancouver and UBC is coming off a 30 point loss in Saskatoon to the Huskies. They won't be a happy group coming in, but either will the Rams.
RIDERS ROLLING: Doing the p x p of the Rams game, I had no idea what was happening in the Rider game until we were off the air. I checked my phone to see the Riders were dominating the Argos which didn't come as a surprise. What did come as a surprise was the play of Joe McKnight. I didn't see that coming. McKnight was a good NCAA player at USC, but he has had a tough time as a pro on both sides of the border. One can only hope that play continues and it wasn't just a one time thing. Meanwhile, the Riders go out east and win two games in just over a week to give them 4 straight and 5 overall. There's no reason to think that winning trend will continue at home against Montreal on Saturday. The future is bright my friends, the future is bright.
ALCS: The Blue Jays need to hope Rogers Centre is what they need to get better, because their bats have become silent. Then again, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen have had a lot to do with that. Pitching wins in the playoffs. The Texas Rangers couldn't get it done in the divisional series, but Cleveland is. Toronto has had nice efforts from both Marco Estrada and JA Happ, but the Indians have been one or two plays better. That is what it comes down to. I'm not as sold on Marcus Stroman as other Blue Jays fans are, but I think Toronto has the advantage tonight in a game that shouldn't be low-scoring. One thing Toronto needs to do as well is stop with the incessant whining at the plate. It was evident in Game 1, and I understand it wasn't much better in Game 2. However, I don't think there is any conspiracy as Jose Bautista suggests. That is just laughable. Its no secret I have no time for Bautista. This is yet another reason why. Toronto needs to cut him adrift once the season ends in my opinion.
NLCS: As the L-A Dodgers came back to tie Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night, this Cubs fan was fuming under the collar. As the Cubs came up in the bottom of the 8th with the bases loaded, manager Joe Maddon threw catcher Miguel Montero out to pinch-hit. It was then I uttered to my Rams colour guy/U of R sports information officer Braden Konschuh, "Is there no one better on the bench than Miggy Montero?". Shows how much I know.
As for Game 2, there was virtually no offence as Clayton Kershaw won a duel with Kyle Hendricks meaning that series is tied at 1. This Cubs fan remains confident!
That's all I got. Have a great week!