Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lots of WHL Talent Invited to Canada's World Junior Camp

 Hockey Canada announced the names of the 32 players invited to participate in Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp at a press conference this morning, of which 12 currently play in the Western Hockey League

The Brandon Wheat Kings, Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets and Regina Pats will each send two players to the selection camp.

WHL Invitees – Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp 
GoaltendersHWDOBHometownWHL ClubNHL Draft 
Carter Hart6'2"1808/13/1998Sherwood Park, ABEverett SilvertipsPHI '16 (2,48) 
Connor Ingram6'1"2023/31/1997Imperial, SKKamloops BlazersTB '16 (3,88) 
Jake Bean6'1"1706/9/1998Calgary, ABCalgary HitmenCAR '16 (1,13 
Kale Clague6'0"1776/5/1998Lloydminster, ABBrandon Wheat KingsLA '16 (2,51) 
Noah Juulsen6’2”1854/2/1997Abbotsford, BCEverett SilvertipsMTL ’15 (1, 26) 
Mathew Barzal6’0”1875/26/1997Coquitlam, BCSeattle ThunderbirdsNYI ’15 (1, 16) 
Dillon Dube5'10"1807/20/1998Cochrane, ABKelowna RocketsCGY '16 (2,56) 
Brett Howden6'3"1903/29/1998Oakbank, MBMoose Jaw WarriorsTB '16 (1,27) 
Nick Merkley5'10"1855/23/1997Calgary, ABKelowna RocketsARI ’15 (1, 30) 
Nolan Patrick6'3"1959/19/1998Winnipeg, MBBrandon Wheat KingsEligible 2017 
Sam Steel6'0"1802/3/1998Sherwood Park, ABRegina PatsANA '16 (1,30) 
Austin Wagner6'3"1856/23/1997Calgary, ABRegina PatsLA '15 (4,99) 

In total, Hockey Canada named 19 forwards, 10 defencemen and three goaltenders to its National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp roster, moving one step closer to the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be hosted by Toronto and Montreal beginning December 26.
Last year, 10 WHL players earned invites to Team Canada’s selection camp, while 14 attended in 2014.
Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp will run from December 10-14 at the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau in Blainville, Que., home of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The selection camp will also include three games: two against the USport All-Stars on December 12 and 13, with one final game against the Czech Republic on December 14.
Following the four-day selection camp, 22 players will be selected to represent Canada and don the Maple Leaf on home ice for the first time since 2015 when Canada won gold in front of a sold-out crowd of over 19,000 fans at the Air Canada Centre. This year, gold will be won in Montreal.
In addition to the 12 WHL players that will attend selection camp, the WHL will be represented on the staff of Team Canada once again this year. Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) will serve as an assistant coach while Brian Cheeseman (Edmonton Oil Kings) will serve as an athletic therapist for the second consecutive year for Team Canada.


Monday, November 28, 2016

NHL Three Stars Of Week

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– Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson,New Jersey Devils left wing Michael Cammalleri and San Jose Sharks defensemanBrent Burns have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 27.

Anderson paced the NHL with four wins, compiling a 1.25 goals-against average,
.960 save percentage and one shutout in four appearances to lift the Senators (14-7-1,
29 points) into second place in the Atlantic Division. He made 36 saves in a 4-3 victory
over the League-leading Montreal Canadiens Nov. 22. Anderson then allowed one goal
in each of his next two starts, recording 19 saves in a 3-1 triumph over the Boston Bruins
Nov. 24 and 32 saves in a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 26. He closed the
week by earning his 36th career shutout – via 33 saves – in a 2-0 victory over the New
York Rangers Nov. 27. The 35-year-old Park Ridge, Ill., native shares second place in
the NHL with 12 wins and three shutouts in 17 outings this season (12-4-1) to go along
with a 2.03 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.

Cammalleri led the NHL with four goals and eight points to power the Devils
(10-6-5, 25 points) to a 1-0-2 record in his three appearances. Playing in his first game
since Nov. 8, Cammalleri (1-3—4) registered his sixth career four-point performance –
and first since Feb. 13, 2013 – in a 5-4 shootout victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs
Nov. 23. He added multiple points in each of his next two contests, picking up 1-1—2 in
a 5-4 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings Nov. 25 and scoring twice in a 4-3 shootout
loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Nov. 26. The 34-year-old Toronto native paces the
Devils with seven goals and ranks second on the team with 14 points despite missing six
of the club’s 21 games this season.

Burns ranked first among defensemen with 2-4—6 in four outings as the Sharks
(12-9-1, 25 points) won three of their four games to maintain second place in the Pacific
Division. He posted 1-1—2 in a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils Nov. 21. Fresh
off signing an eight-year contract extension, Burns then collected multiple points in each
of his next two appearances – two assists in a 2-1 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks
Nov. 23 and 1-1—2 in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders Nov. 25 – before being
held off the scoresheet in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 26. The 31-year-old
Barrie, Ont., native leads NHL defensemen and paces the Sharks with 8-12—20 in 22
games this season.

Something To "Mitch" About

HENNNNNNNRYYYYYYY!!!! - On a night where the CFL had to shine, it did as the 104th Grey Cup was a classic. I don't think it was as good as 1989, 1996 or 2005, but the Ottawa REDBLACKS overtime win over Calgary has to be considered as one of the best Grey Cups played. Yes, there were numerous reviews and challenges that made me and many others roll my eyes, but in the end, the CFL was the big winner on this night as the championship game was a product they can hang their hat on. It doesn't mean changes aren't needed as the game is broken, but a disaster of a game would have meant a very tough off-season.

It has been a long time since Ottawa could celebrate a title. Not since Tony Gabriel in 1976 (thanks TSN for showing us that at the end) have fans in the nation's capital been able to celebrate a championship. They have seen the Rough Riders fold, they have seen the Renegades come and go, they have been through a lot, but they now have the Canada's football chalice in their possession and they can thank their 41 year old quarterback.

Henry Burris has had many great games in the CFL, but Grey Cup 104 might go down as one of his best ever. Moreso when you consider he just about ended up being a spectator. I couldn't believe it when I heard just moments before kickoff he may not be able to go because of a knee problem. What problem? Burris was on the top of his game in the first half guiding Ottawa to what looked like an insurmountable lead.  Give a lot of credit to Calgary for coming back and sending the game into overtime, but one will wonder much like in Super Bowl 49 when the Seahawks didn't give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, why the Stampeders didn't give the ball to Jerome Messam with the ball at the Ottawa 2 instead of having Andrew Buckley try an end-around for what would have been a game winning score. Dave Dickenson said after the game, he regrets that call. No kidding!

Putting the ball in the hands of a 3rd string rookie QB instead of the league's MOP or top Canadian is a decision which will be debated for a few months in Cowtown.  Speaking of Buckley, it was great to see a Canadian quarterback score a TD in the Grey Cup. As the LP's Ian Hamilton said during the game, to see the 2014 and 15 Hec Crighton Trophy winner get a TD is great, hopefully the 2016 Hec Crighton winner will have an opportunity to do the same.  #noahpicton

Bo Levi Mitchell picked the wrong time to have his worst game of the year---or maybe I should say worst half. His first half was not highlight-reel material. Awwwwwwww!! Bo Levi became too whiny of a diva for me this year. Who's kidding who, I'm not the only one glad to see the mouthpiece get silenced on this night. Make no doubt about it, he is the best player in the CFL and he could win multiple Grey Cups and go down as one of the best to play the game, but he needs to learn to shut up and Ottawa was glad to do it for him. One can only imagine what he would have been saying had the Stamps won. That being said, he did stand up and admit he has had better nights.

As good a night it was for the CFL, I do ask this though

1) Please tell me Henry Burris and Brad Sinopoli are getting more than those plaques for being named MVP and Top Canadian. Those things couldn't have cost more than 50 bucks. Where's the truck? Isn't Dodge RAM a sponsor of CFL games?

2) This tweet from the Winnipeg Free Press' Paul Wiecek basically sums it up...

You can't argue that! 

As mentioned, the CFL has a lot of work to do in the off-season in a variety of different departments. Advertisers is one of them. Ads for nail fungus, 3D Crystals, etc. etc. etc can't be on one of the biggest sporting events in Canada. There is no way those ads are running during the Stanley Cup. That may be more TSN than the CFL, but the league needs to help in getting some major advertisers. 

All in all though, the last picture we get from the league is a favourable one and that is good news. 

NOW WHAT? -- The CFL season is over, and now we wait to see the dominos start tumbling in various places. What happens in Toronto? What happens in Montreal? Will Durant re-sign here? If he doesn't, is James Franklin the guy to lead the green-and-white into the new stadium? Will Mike O'Shea re-sign in Winnipeg? What will Matt Nichols get in free agency? Questions, questions, questions! What team has the biggest rebuild in front of them? I would have to say its Toronto.

EXPLANATION NEEDED -  I am firmly of the belief the NCAA does the right thing with their four team football playoff to determine a national champ. It is better than having a computer or writers decide who the best is. However, what I don't understand is this. On Saturday, Ohio State beat Michigan in double overtime in a battle of 2 vs 3. This has many saying Ohio State has secured a spot in the final 4. How? Take nothing away from the Buckeyes, but they aren't playing in the Big 10 Championship game. That will see Penn State, who beat Ohio State, taking on Wisconsin. Shouldn't a conference champ have a shot at the national title and not a team who doesn't even get to their conference's title game.  It's confusing!

VANIER CUP -  The Vanier Cup was nothing to sneeze at as Laval came back to beat Calgary (not a good weekend for Calgary football teams). Sportsnet did a great job with the game although I question why CFL hater Tim Micallef (yes, I know he used to be the Ti-Cats p x p guy) was doing the game. Truth be told, I don't mind Micallef, its the other yahoo he works with every day that grates on my nerves. At the end of the day, the game was on Canadian TV from coast-to-coast, but its just another example as to how more need to see what a good product USports Canada is and how good some of the athletes are.  I know its a pipe dream, but I hope some day we are seeing Canadian university basketball, volleyball, football and other sports on a regular basis and not just at playoff time. Canada deserves to know more about our University athletes and coaches. The new president of USports Canada says it will take time. I've been hearing that for 20 some years now.

OH CANADA! - I didn't know this until listening to NHL Radio on Thursday, but they say 80 percent of the teams that make the Stanley Cup playoffs are in a playoff position at American Thanksgiving.  The league was pushed back a week because of the World Cup so perhaps you do have to wait for a few days yet, but after a year where no Canadian team made the playoffs, there are as of Saturday night, three teams who are in the playoffs. Those teams are Montreal, Ottawa and Edmonton. Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg have some work to do, but you can't say they are out of the mix. I think it is safe to say Arizona and the Islanders are out of the mix.

SEE YA GERRY! -  What a callous and classless move by the Florida Panthers Sunday night. After losing to the Hurricanes, Gerard Gallant was told his services were no longer needed. Was Gallant allowed to travel with the team. NO!!!

This is Gallant waiting outside the rink for a cab to pick him up! I don't think I've ever seen that before. Last year, he was a coach of the year finalist and now you can't even give him a flight home to Miami. That's not cool! By the way, who thought Gallant would be the first head coach fired in the NHL this year especially when the team is one game over 500. 

That's all I got.  Have a great week! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Orridge: CFL is Wide Open and Competitive

Riding a wave of high scoring, close games, the Canadian Football League is making progress towards its goals, Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said Friday.

“When we look at the current state of the league, that’s the word that comes to mind: progress,” he said at his annual news conference, a key media event in the run up to the 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw on Sunday. “We’ve done a lot to move the chains forward.”

Orridge said the game of Canadian professional football is in excellent shape. Offensive scoring, a major concern just two years ago, is up 20% compared to the 2014 regular season, and is up 10% over last year.

“This is a result of making significant changes to open up the game,” Orridge said.

The number of penalties, a concern a year ago, was down 12% in the regular season, or about three flags per game. The league had eight regular season overtime games, matching the CFL record. The margin of victory in more than a quarter of the games was four points or fewer. And the outcome of half of the games remained undecided until the final three minutes.

“I would stack our game against any other,” Orridge said.

He said the league’s goals are to keep the fans it has by engaging them more and more, attract new and diverse fans, and reach and include the next generation of fans.

He cited that fact that while ratings for the CFL on TSN were up by 3% overall, they were up 7% in the key 18-49 demographic, and female viewership is up 7% compared to last regular season.

“These numbers suggest that we are moving in the right direction, and we have lots more work to do,” Orridge said.


This And That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--Is there a better football weekend than this? Turkey day in the U-S meant the usual diet of NFL football,  Today there are college games galore including the Apple Cup between Washington State and Washington. On Saturday, you will have Calgary and Laval playing for the Vanier Cup in Hamilton with some great games in the U-S as well including Ohio State vs Michigan which leads to the  usual Sunday buffet of NFL games and then the Grey Cup to cap it off as the Calgary Stampeders will look to complete one of the best seasons in the history of the CFL as they play the Ottawa REDBLACKS who are in their 2nd Grey Cup in just their 3rd year of existence.

Say what you will about Toronto hosting the game and seats having to be basically given away, and say what you will about the league, but there is nothing like Grey Cup week. I have been to several and they are a great show because the fans make it that way.  Yes, there are many flaws in the game, but fans keep coming to the annual November party no matter where it is and they have a great time. Toronto may not know the game is on, but CFL fans do and they aren't going to let the fact that the game is in a place that seemingly doesn't embrace the league stop them from doing what they do every year and that is have some fun, renew some relationships, make some memories and watch a football game.

--Last year at this time, all the talk in Winnipeg was Chris Jones was coming to Regina after the Grey Cup. That rumour became fact as we know. This year, the Riders have been front and center with a couple of rumours, but nothing as explosive as last year.  There is talk Duron Carter may be interested in resuming his football career with the green-and-white. Thanks, but no thanks. Carter has all the talent in the world, but his lack of maturity has shown. He isn't a guy conducive to winning in this blogger's opinion. Besides the money that would likely be needed for his services could go to some guy named Durant. Who's kidding who, if you sign Carter, who is going to throw the ball to him?

The other rumour comes from Scott Milanovich. It has been suggested he could reunite with Chris Jones if he is cut adrift in Toronto as is expected. Milanovich knows his stuff. I'd be OK with this.

--Can the Ottawa REDBLACKS beat Calgary? Yup! If they played 10 times, Calgary would likely win 8 of them, but I think Ottawa can make this a good game and if they get a break or two, they could win. I don't think there are many Rider fans who would be heartbroken if Henry Burris had his mitts on the Grey Cup Sunday night. I know I wouldn't be.

---Was this really three years ago?

Considering what has happened to the Riders since that magical Sunday night, it is hard to fathom what has happened to the football team. It's still a night I don't think anyone in the Rider Nation would trade. Will a scene like this happen in the new Mosaic? One can only hope!

--I know many Vikings fans. I am guessing they are all ready to jump into traffic after what happened yesterday and how this season has gone from great to right down the toilet.  

--What was longer? Aretha Franklin performing the Star-Spangled Banner before the Vikes-Lions game or the Ben Cahoon retirement ceremony. Its close! 

--Say what you will about the CFL, but I don't think they could ever do as a big a screw-up as what happened in the MLS game between Toronto and Montreal this week.  How do you paint the lines wrong? How? YOU HAD ONE JOB! What's worse is that both teams practiced there the day before and no one noticed. ??????  One can only imagine the hue and cry if the CFL did something like this. 

--Regina's other quarterback that wears #4 was rightfully selected as the Hec Crighton Trophy winner Thursday night in Hamilton as Noah Picton was named USports Football player of the year. It's the first time that has happened for a Rams player which is amazing considering the many great players that have gone through the program. It also comes 30 years to the day after his dad Dean won the Canadian Junior title. I couldn't be happier for Noah. He deserves this after the season he had. It was amazing to see the way he dissected Canada West defences for a majority of the season with his game in Winnipeg to end the season against the Bisons being one of beauty. I can only hope by the time he graduates something is done to get Canadian quarterbacks in the CFL because like many others past and present, the kid has what it takes to get to the next level. 

  I was somewhat shocked not to see Steve Bryce be the USports Coach of the Year. You just don't do what Bryce did in one year very often. The head coach at Laurier must have had one helluva season if it was enough to beat out the first year Rams head coach. 

--As we know, the Regina Pats are a finalist for the 2018 Memorial Cup. Is there any reason to think the 100th anniversary of Canada's junior hockey championship won't be contested at the Brandt Centre. It seems like a perfect mix with the Pats relationship with the military, the fact it is their 100th anniversary along with other things like the fact the host team has a damn good shot at winning it all. Yes, that is a long ways from happening and some already believe a trip to Windsor for this year's MC should be booked already, but all Regina will lose next year is Adam Brooks as far as the core guys go. 

People seem to forget Tyson Jost is Regina's property and if the Colorado first round draft pick can somehow find his way to Regina for a season that will end with a Memorial Cup appearance after a year at North Dakota, it makes Regina a powerful team again next season. If Regina gets the MC, it will mean the Brier and the Memorial Cup in a three month period. Safe to say Regina will have the Canadian sports spotlight shining brightly on it. 

WEEK 12 NFL LOCK OF THE WEEK --- Dolphins over Niners 
WEEK 12 NFL UPSET OF THE WEEK -- Chargers over Texans 

That's all I got. Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Week 12 NFL Capsules

Image result for thanksgiving turkey 

It's Turkey Day weekend in the U-S meaning there is a tripleheader of football Thursday followed by the weekly diet of Sunday and Monday games. For a complete look at all games in Week 12 of the season, click here 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dunk: Corey Chamblin Open To CFL Return

Not much has been heard of former Riders head coach Corey Chamblin since he was fired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders midway through the 2015 season.. 3 Down Nation's Justin Dunk has caught up with Chamblin and says he is ready to join another CFL team if the want is there. 

You can read Dunk's story on Chamblin by clicking here 

HS Football Game Going To Court To Determine A Winner

FILE: Footballs

Did you ever think a football game would be determined by the United States court system? It’s going to happen near Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a high school football game on November 19th ended in controversy after a referee inaccurately enforced a intentional grounding penalty on a 4th down. Fenwick High School, out of Oak Park Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), thought they had the game won after throwing the ball away, but instead Plainfield North (Plainfield, Illinois. Another suburb of Chicago) was granted an untimed down from the Fenwick five yard line. They booted a chip-shot field goal to tie the game at 10.Apparently the untimed down should not have occurred. Plainfield would go on to win the game 18-17 in overtime.

That hasn’t stopped Fenwick High School from trying to get the decision reversed. They first took the issue to the Illinois High School Activities Association, and the IHSA determined that they could not overturn the referees decision. They did, however, confirm that Plainfield should not have been granted an untimed down based on National Federation of High School football rules. That wasn’t good enough for Fenwick, as they decided to take the decision to a higher level…by starting a lawsuit.

“In the lawsuit, Fenwick asks that the “IHSA be temporarily, preliminarily and premanently enjoined and estopped from denying Fenwick and its students  from participating in its first-ever State Football Championship.” – Chicago Tribune

The game is currently being evaluated and a court will decide the outcome of the game. The football contest may have been completed, but the real determining factor of who plays in the State Class 7A Championship Game will be determined by the law system of the United States.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Las Vegas' NHL Team Will Be Known As......

Vegas Golden Knights

Five months after being awarded an NHL franchise, Las Vegas' expansion team finally has a name. The Vegas Golden Knights will be the city's first major professional sports team when they begin play in the 2017-18 season.

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley made the announcement, alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and team general manager George McPhee, in front of a raucous crowd outside the recently constructed T-Mobile Arena, the team's new home, located just off the Las Vegas Strip.

"We now have an identity," Foley said just before the announcement. "My whole idea was to create a logo and a name that was powerful that would epitomize the warrior class. The Knights are the epitome of the warrior class, the top of the line in terms of defending the realm, defending the unprotected. This is all part of the culture we want to create with the hockey team."

The NHL announced that Las Vegas would be home to the league's 31st team after a board of governors meeting in the city on June 22. Not only will the Golden Knights be the NHL's first expansion team since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild during the 2000-01 season, but they also will become the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to have a team in Las Vegas.

Foley said he went with "Vegas" instead of "Las Vegas" for the NHL team name because that is how most locals refer to the city.

Jerseys for the Golden Knights will not be for sale until mid-February, at the earliest, Foley said. But other items, such as T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, polo shirts, shorts and gym bags, were sold outside the arena shortly after the announcement was made on Tuesday night.

The team has already sold more than 14,000 season tickets and most of the luxury seats inside the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena for next season. While Foley expects games to be popular destinations for traveling fans, he also believes that 85 percent to 90 percent of the crowds during the regular season will be made up of season-ticket holders.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Regina Pats Are One Of 3 Finalists For 2018 Memorial Cup

Image result for regina pats

The Canadian Hockey League today announced that three clubs will have the opportunity to make formal bid presentations to host the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup which will be the 100th edition of the league’s prestigious national championship.

The Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs, Oshawa Generals, and the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats have advanced to the next stage of the national bid process representing the final three teams submitted by the CHL’s regional leagues for consideration to host the historic celebration.  The event, which takes place May 17-27, 2018, will feature a host CHL team along with the champions of the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL competing in the traditional round-robin tournament format.

“The Canadian Hockey League’s mission for the historic 100th presentation of the Memorial Cup is to capture, preserve, and enhance the legacy of one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sport,” said CHL President David Branch. “Our successful host will help engage the entire nation through this celebration that will also honour the brave men and women who served and continue to serve our country.”

National bid presentations will be heard by a National Site Selection Committee.  Details regarding this stage of the process including presentation schedule and committee members will be announced at a later date.  The CHL will announce the 2018 Host City in February 2017.

“We are very proud of our longstanding partnership with the Canadian Hockey League and our association with this prestigious annual event,” said Milos Vranesevic, Head of Marketing, Mastercard Canada. “We look forward to the centennial celebration in 2018 and wish the Hamilton Bulldogs, Oshawa Generals, and Regina Pats the best of luck with their bids.”

The Memorial Cup has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in the First World War.  In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel killed in combat serving our country.

The 99th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Windsor Spitfires May 18-28, 2017.


NHL Three Stars Of Week

– Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 20.


Carter paced the NHL with three game-winning tallies – and also tied for the League lead with four total goals (4-2—6) – in four outings to propel the Kings (10-9-1, 21 points) into a share of first place, in terms of points, in the Pacific Division. After being held off the scoresheet in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Nov. 15, Carter scored the decisive goal in three consecutive outings: a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Nov. 17 (1-1—2), a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils Nov. 19 and a 3-2 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 20 (2-1—3). In doing so, he became the first Kings player to record the winning goal in three straight team games since Dec. 2-9, 2010 (Anze Kopitar). The 31-year-old London, Ont., native – who eclipsed 600 career points Sunday (316-285—601 in 815 GP) – leads the NHL with five game-winning goals and ranks first on Los Angeles with 9-8—17 in 20 contests this season.


Ward went 3-0-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and one shutout to help the Hurricanes (7-6-4, 18 points) complete a perfect week and extend his, as well as the team’s, overall winning streak to four games. Ward stopped all 22 shots he faced to pick up his 24th career shutout – and first of the season – in a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks Nov. 15. He then made 31 saves in a 3-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens Nov. 18 and 28 saves in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Nov. 20. The 32-year-old Saskatoon, Sask., native owns a 6-4-3 record with a 2.36 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 13 appearances this season. Ward’s four-game winning streak is his longest since Feb. 16-28, 2015 (also 4-0-0)


Backstrom led the NHL with 4-4—8 in four games to power the Capitals (11-5-2, 24 points) to five out of a possible eight standings points. He scored the club’s lone goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Nov. 15 before matching a career high with 2-3—5, including the decisive tally, in a 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Nov. 16. Backstrom then was held off the scoresheet in a 1-0 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings Nov. 18, but closed the week with 1-1—2 in a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets Nov. 20. The 28-year-old Gävle, Sweden, native paces the Capitals with 12 assists and 17 points in 18 outings this season.

Something To "Mitch" About

Image result for GREY CUP TROPHY

LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN -  The Ottawa REDBLACKS are heading back to the Grey Cup looking to win what they couldn't last year, while the Calgary Stampeders look to successfully cap off one of the greatest seasons in the history of the CFL. That is what we have in front of us. It will be a true East-West Grey Cup thanks to the Ottawa win which some are saying preserves the Canadiana of the game itself. If that trumps having the two best teams play in the game, so be it. It doesn't matter to me if the Grey Cup is an East vs West battle, but there are others who feel it always has to be that way. The CFL walks that slippery slope by having a team crossover and one of these years, it will happen. Has this saved the week? The fans are what make Grey Cup week special and fans of many teams will descend on Toronto for what should be a party as it is any other year.

While the focus of the game should be on its combatants, it will likely fall on the game as a whole.  3Down Nation's Justin Dunk reported on the weekend TSN employees are getting free tickets to the game to make BMO Field look full as ticket sales have not been great. In fact, there is a lot of worry that the MLS Soccer game between Toronto and Montreal which will be played three days after the Grey Cup at the same venue will have more people. Yes, it would appear as if Major League Soccer has become more popular in Toronto and Montreal than the CFL and the same might be said for Vancouver.

The game needs help.  I don't think that can be argued. The question is where do you start? There are so many different things which need to be done.  The league can't stick its head in the sand and pretend problems don't exist. They have to acknowledge this and start correcting it immediately.  Will Glen Johnson address the media this week? If he does, he can answer why someone in the command centre who has screwed up twice already this year was working the East final.  How does that happen? What will the commissioner have to say?  As I said, the goings-on away from the field may overshadow what will happen on the field in six days time.

THE LEGACY OF SMILIN HANK - Henry Burris can't have much time left. After he won the MOP last year, I truly thought if Ottawa had beaten Edmonton to win it all that Smilin Hank would go grinnin off into the sunset. I have to wonder if the same scenario happens here. Henry isn't getting any older. He has been in many Grey Cups, but his record has not been that great. Would a second title be what it takes for him to end his career or would he keep going? There is no arguing that Burris is one of the best ever to step onto a CFL field as his numbers are right up there and would be higher had it not been for his time in the NFL. The Rider Nation is still bitter over what happened years ago, and one can only wonder how history would have changed had Burris stayed in green. Say what you will about him, but he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. I somehow think many in this province will be rooting for Burris over Bo Levi on Sunday.

MORE CONTENDERS PLEASE -  The NFL is getting down to crunch time as we hit American Thanksgiving. As I watch another week of play, I am just left wondering if the Patriots will play Dallas or Seattle in the Super Bowl? Those three teams are just head and shoulders above everyone else now. I thought Kansas City might be able to challenge New England, but they lose at home to Tampa. There is no team in the AFC even close to Brady and company and while the gap between Dallas, Seattle and the rest of the NFC isn't as large, those two teams seem destined for the NFC Championship. If someone is going to stand up and challenge one of these three teams, I don't know who it is right now.

THE NEW KANE-TOEWS? -  While listening to NHL Radio Saturday afternoon, the discussion was had about Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews and whether or not they are this decade's Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews.  While the numbers are similar, the teams are not.  The Hawks were a good team when those guys broke into the league, the Leafs don't have that talent around them----at least not yet.  The comparison is valid, but the overall picture is not. One can't deny though the Leafs are a better team and will be very good in the next couple of years thanks to these two along with William Nylander, Connor Brown and others coming through the system including Adam Brooks who I am told the Leafs love.

SURVIVOR SERIES STINKER - There are only 4 WWE PPV's that matter. Wrestlemania, Summerslam, the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. The last of those 4 happened in Toronto with a "mega-match" between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. Yes, the match was years too late  as far as the careers of both go, but there was plenty of hype resulting in plenty of buys and a lot of interest. The entire PPV was one of the best the WWE had put on until the end when the main event lasted less than 3 minutes with Goldberg completely squashing Lesnar. ??????  What is it with Survivor Series held in Canada and bad finishes (Bret Hart-Montreal Screwjob). What a complete and total letdown! It won't deter wrestling fans from watching RAW and Smackdown, and I'm sure this is setting up something, but you can't give a match that much hype and then give us that. At least I didn't pay a god-awful amount for the event seeing I have the WWE network, but still.

That's all I got. Have a good week!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

CFL East Final Could Be Interesting

Here is what Environment Canada has put out for the Ottawa area Sunday as the Eskimos and REDBLACKS get ready for the East final and a trip to the Grey Cup

Alerts for: City of Ottawa
4:51 AM EST Saturday 19 November 2016
Special weather statement in effect for:

Ottawa North - Kanata - Orléans
Ottawa South - Richmond - Metcalfe
Significant change to winter weather starting tonight.

A low pressure system sweeping across Ontario is expected to bring colder temperatures with rain changing to snow beginning overnight tonight then continuing Sunday. A few centimetres of snow are expected by Sunday evening. This snow could linger over eastern Ontario for a considerable amount of time into Monday bringing accumulating snow and significantly impacting the Monday morning commute.

Current information suggests total snowfall amounts on the order of 10 to 15 cm, especially over eastern sections, by Monday evening.

Motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions beginning Sunday and adjust plans accordingly.

Environment Canada will continue to monitor this evolving situation.

Add to this winds of 50 km an hour and while the worse appears to be happening after the game, it could still be tough sledding for both teams.

Friday, November 18, 2016

This And That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--It's no secret that I openly question the goings on with the CFL on this blog. I believe this league could be so much better, but they keep doing things to hurt themselves.  Some of them are things I don't think they have control over, yet they get the blame.  As it is with many things, when the league does something good, they should be recognized for it, and I think they have the potential to have hit a homerun with CFL Week which was announced Tuesday at the Great Canadian Brewhouse in Harbour Landing.

   Putting on a showcase event in the middle of the off-season is a great idea. There are many things planned to keep the CFL front and center on the minds of football fans during late March. It will come at a time before the MLB season starts, and the NHL and NBA  regular season will still be on meaning the focus won't be on the playoffs. The NFL will be done, so there is no worry about that league.  The key now is to make sure there are no glitches and that everything runs smoothly going into year 2. If the CFL can show in the infant year of this initiative that it works and it can be done properly than they have the chance at having something which will be tremendously successful. Of course, this won't work in all markets (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal), but I think it can succeed in the West along with Ottawa and Hamilton.  I also wouldn't mind seeing the league taking its show to places where fans don't see the CFL up close and personal like the Maritimes, Quebec City and Victoria.

  From coaching clinics to autograph sessions to dinners to the combine, it sounds good in theory. Let's see everything get rolled out. I'm confident this can work if the league puts enough resources into it and its promoted properly including their TV partner.  I didn't see Sportscentre on Tuesday night. How much publicity did TSN give the event?

--As the head of officiating, how much time does Glen Johnson spend in the Command Centre?

--If TV ratings for the first weekend of CFL playoff games were up substantially from last year, does it mean we won't see infomercials for frying pans and those two annoying women hawking the 3D Crystal this weekend. I find it atrocious that TSN has to run those ads during CFL games. Are they on during the Sunday or Monday Night NFL games? Are they on Saturdays when NCAA Football is on. I don't know the answer to that because I'm not paying attention.

--Seems to me as if a lot of people are already saying it is going to be a Battle of Alberta at the Grey Cup. Talk about disrespect to the Lions and REDBLACKS. More so to Ottawa than BC as I can understand most everyone thinking the juggernaut that is the Calgary Stampeders will move on to the big game. I won't be surprised to see a BC-Ottawa Grey Cup, but I will say that at least one of those teams will be playing a week from Sunday.  Let it also be said, an Edmonton-Calgary Grey Cup will make this Saskatchewan blogger somewhat nauseous.

--Kerry Joseph has gone to Twitter telling the Riders to pay Darian Durant what he deserves, and so has Naaman Roosevelt. Who else is going to put their two cents in the efforts to convince Chris Jones to keep Darian in a green-and-white uniform. I'm still optimistic he is back, but that optimism has waned somewhat.  He is apparently still in Regina though which is a good sign. I thought he would have it high-tailed it back to Atlanta. Perhaps he will once he has put pen to paper.

--The Regina Pats continue to be the talk of the city and for good reason. The play of John Paddock's proteges have everyone buzzing, Why wouldn't they as they have completed the first quarter of the season with a "0" in the loss column. They must be playing too well though because there are many who can't be content with enjoying the ride. They have to find a whipping boy to make themselves feel good, and that whipping boy is apparently Tyler Brown.

 Many feel the goaltending position needs an upgrade. Many need to give their head a shake. No one had a problem with Brown when he helped get the team to Game 7 of an Eastern Conference final. No one had a problem with Grant Fuhr when he was making saves for those great Oiler teams that the current Pats are being compared to. The games will get tougher for Regina as the season wears on and the playoffs will be a battle as Regina attempts to bring home the Ed Chynoweth Cup. I'll be shocked if the Pats don't go into those playoffs without Brown and Jordan Hollett patrolling the pipes.

If this team needs an upgrade, and I would just call it a case of making a strong group even stronger, I would find another d-man to compliment Hobbs, Zborovskiy and Harrison. I'n not going to sit here and tell you Brown is an elite WHL tender because he's not, but he is more than capable of doing the job. By the way, if looking for a d-man, here are three names I will throw out there---Brendan Guhle (PA), Caleb Jones (Portland), Ethan Bear (Seattle). The question is what is the price tag for one of those three. They won't come cheap, but the Pats have some assets.

--Still with the Pats, they are gone because of Agribition and this year's event will see usage of the International Trade Centre which still isn't completely built. Phase 2 of the ITC will mean the demolition of Exhibition Stadium---the first home of the Pats. That is where I saw my first Pats games. Exhibition Stadium has a lot of memories inside it. It isn't the same as Taylor Field, but before that wrecking ball goes through, someone should take note of some of the activities which occurred in that place. I am guessing you don't really want to step inside of that place though for fear of having your foot chewed off by a rat or something.

--The Dallas Cowboys are the story of the NFL season at 8-1. The reason for this is the play of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Can one be named MVP and the other named rookie of the year. FWIW, I would put Prescott in the MVP discussion ahead of Elliott.

--Week 11 NFL Lock Of The Week -- Seahawks over Eagles
--Week 11 NFL Upset Of The Week -- Cardinals over Vikings

--Is it just me or is Tyler Bozak quietly having a good start to the NHL season. The Leafs forward and Regina native is averaging almost a point a game for Toronto.

--If there is a more up and down team in the NHL today than the Winnipeg Jets than who is it? At times, they look a club that could be a playoff team and then they turnaround and look horrible

--The LP's Rob Vanstone asks when the MLS season ends? I second that. This Toronto FC-Montreal Impact game playoff game has been hyped forever and it's just a semi-final isn't it.

--Two thumbs up to the owners of Victoria's Tavern and the two Leopold's Taverns in Regina for instituting a free ride program and teaming up with a designated driver service in December, They see what a problem drinking and driving is in Saskatchewan and they are doing something about it. Let's hope other bar owners follow suit and they make it a year-round thing.

--Safe to say you don't want to get on Kate Upton's bad side after her tweets following Justin Verlander getting beat in the American League Cy Young vote. How do ya really feel Kate?

--High Impact Wrestling is at the Hungarian Club tonight. Gronkville assembles for their monthly meeting, How many of them will bathe before attending! I'm guessing at least half, but that may be a little high.

That's all I got.  Have a great weekend! We might actually get to December without snow!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CFL Makes A Big-Time Oops In Eastern Semi-Final

The CFL has acknowledged its officials made two separate mistakes on a key play late in Hamilton Tiger-Cats loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in last Sunday's East Semifinal.

Both calls came on the same play late in the fourth quarter, the game time tied at 21, when Ticat quarterback Zach Collaros completed a pass before taking a hit from Edmonton defensive end Odell Willis. A holding penalty against offensive tackle Brandon Revenberg negated the 17-yard gain and Ticats challenged the hit on Collaros, looking for roughing the passer, but were denied by the replay official.

CFL vice-president of football Glen Johnson said Wednesday the calls "do not meet the standard" set by the league.

On the issue of roughing the passer, Johnson said the league's review process determined that replay official Jeff Harbin erred by not upholding the Ticats' challenge against Willis.

"It was extremely close but when we go through it, we compare it to other ones we've called this season and I would have preferred that it would have been ruled differently," Johnson said. "At the time, the replay official didn't believe the hit was late but when we go back and look at the variety of different angles it's clear that it's within the tolerance we have for being called based on our video standards."

Similarly, umpire Adam Paradowski, a four-year veteran from Moncton, N.B., should not have flagged Revenberg for his block on the Eskimos' Phillip Hunt.

"As the quarterback moves in the pocket, the official gets blocked out and by the time he gets the angle back, he sees the end of it and believes that's enough for the holding call," Johnson said. "But our standard is that we need to see the entire action."

The result of the play should have given the Ticats a first down at their own 52-yard line with just over 90 seconds on the clock. Hamilton had the wind in the fourth quarter and kicker Brett Maher had tied the game with an 86-yard single just a few minutes earlier.

Instead, facing second-and-14 from their own 10-yard line, Collaros threw an interception on the next play. Edmonton kicked a field to win the game on the ensuing series. The loss ended Hamilton's season.

"I don't think that one play in one game affects the outcome. It affected the outcome of that play but there are many other things that go in to determining the outcome of a game," Johnson said. "I think our guys do an excellent job under difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, both these things happened on one play."

Tiger-Cats officials declined to comment.

This is the second time this season the outcome of a Ticat game has been significantly impacted by errors in officiating acknowledged by the league.

In an October game against Ottawa, a botched replay call allowed the the Redblacks to retain possession of an apparent fumble and kick the game-winning field goal on the next play. The loss dealt a significant blow to Hamilton's chances of winning the East Division, which was ultimately claimed by the Redblacks.

The official involved in that decision, Jeff Harbin, was also responsible for the error made on Sunday.

"There's always concerns when we don't get things right and it's my job to make sure that we keep reducing errors — I'm as accountable for this as anybody," Johnson said. "I think our officiating on the field has gotten measurably better — I've got that feedback from clubs and fans and now we have to ensure that we have replay in the right spot.

"These are very, very close calls."

(Drew Edwards/Hamilton Spectator)

Week 11 NFL Capsules

Image result for drew brees 

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints meet the Carolina Panthers in the Thursday night NFL game. For a complete look at that game, and every other one in the NFL, click here

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Schedule – Friday
Men’s Wrestling – dual vs. Calgary, 4:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 6:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Men’s Hockey – vs. UBC, 7:00 p.m. (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 8:00 p.m. (CKHS)

Home Schedule – Saturday
Wrestling – at Cougar Invitational, 9:00 a.m. (CKHS)
Track & Field – Intrasquad Meet Track & Jumps Events, 10:00 a.m. (CKHS)
Track & Field – Intrasquad Meet Throwing Events, 3:30 p.m. (Regina Fieldhouse)
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 5:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Men’s Hockey – vs. UBC, 7:00 p.m. (The Co-operators Centre)
Away Schedule – Friday
Women’s Hockey – at UBC, 7:00 p.m. PST (Vancouver, B.C.)

Away Schedule – Saturday
Women’s Hockey – at UBC, 4:00 p.m. PST (Vancouver, B.C.)

Wrestling (Women’s U Sports Ranking: No. 5 / Men’s U Sports Ranking: No. 6) – The Cougars have their only home events of 2016-17 season this weekend, as the men's team will host the Calgary Dinos for a dual on Friday afternoon (4:00) and both teams will wrestle in the Cougar Invitational on Saturday. The women’s tournament starts at 9 a.m. with the men’s side to follow. Both competitions will be held in the main gym at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

Track & Field – The Cougars open up their 2016-17 schedule with an intrasquad meet this Saturday. The 60-metre, 300-metre, 600-metre, and 1200-metre events along with the triple jump, long jump, and high jump will be held at the CKHS from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The weight throw and the shot put will take place at the Regina Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 and 4:30, respectively.

Men’s Hockey – Regina suffered two losses on the road last weekend, falling 7-0 and 6-2 to No. 7-ranked Mount Royal University. The Cougars will return to home ice this weekend, playing host to the 4-6-0 UBC Thunderbirds for 7 p.m. games at The Co-operators Centre on both Friday and Saturday.

Women’s Volleyball – Coming off their bye week, the Cougars (0-4) will now have two consecutive weekends at home beginning this Friday night (6:00) and Saturday night (5:00) against Saskatchewan at the CKHS. The U of R is also at home against UBC Okanagan on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 before finishing off the first half of the Canada West schedule on the road against Alberta the following weekend.

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars (0-4) return to Canada West play at home this weekend following a weekend off. They’ll host provincial rival Saskatchewan at the CKHS, with the U of R set to battle the Huskies on Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.) following the conclusion of the women’s match both nights. The Cougars are at home again the following weekend against UBC Okanagan (Nov. 25/26) and close out the first half of the conference schedule at Alberta (Dec. 2/3).

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (5-4-1-0) have a tough test coming off their bye week, travelling to Vancouver for a matchup with the No. 1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds. The Cougars split with the Alberta Pandas in their last action, winning 3-0 on Nov. 4 before the hometown Pandas replied with a 4-2 win the following afternoon. UBC sits at 7-1-2-0 and is riding an eight-game winning streak.

Women’s Basketball (U Sports Ranking: No. 3) – Though the Cougars started out the weekend with a 75-52 win over MacEwan in Edmonton, their 15-game winning streak came to an end after being edged 73-72 by the Griffins on Saturday. Now 3-1 in Canada West play, the Cougars will have this weekend off before returning to the conference schedule at Trinity Western on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars (2-2) registered their second consecutive weekend split, losing 88-84 to MacEwan on Friday but winning by an almost identical 88-85 score on Saturday night. Alex Igual was named the Canada West Third Star of the Week after shooting 50% from beyond the arc and leading the Cougars in scoring with 45 points over the two games, while Aaron McGowan also piled up 27 points in the team’s Saturday victory. The Cougars are back in action on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 against Trinity Western in Langley, B.C.

Cross Country – Adam Strueby led the Cougars with a 13th overall finish at the U Sports Championships, earning second-team All-Canadian and Canada West first-team all-star honours in the process. Strueby had a 10K time of 31:22 at the meet, which was held at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. Marc Turmel (72nd, 33:02) and Matthew Johnson (90th, 33:29) also ran for the men’s team, while Kaytlyn Criddle had a time of 23:53 in the 6K women’s race and placed 60th.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

First Ever "CFL Week" Coming to Regina This March



The Canadian Football League unveiled today that Saskatchewan will play host to the first-ever CFL Week in March of 2017

The off-season gathering will include several major fan engagement events, multi-day media access opportunities to more than 50 prominent CFL players, a Hall of Fame and player Gala Dinner, a coaches’ media junket and a new passing showcase tournament featuring several of Canada’s top university football programs.

The week will be capped off with the CFL’s National Combine, where Canada’s rising stars will come together in Regina for the most social and most accessible Combine – for fans and media – in CFL history.

“CFL Week will bring together everything that is great about our league in one place for one exciting week: important football events such as our national Combine, opportunities for fans to meet and greet our biggest stars, and access for the media to the league’s biggest players and decision makers,” said Jeffrey Orridge.

CFL Week will bring together several fan-facing events and League-wide meetings, including:

• National Combine presented by adidas – with increased access for media and fans;
• Western Regional Combine presented by adidas;
• CFL/TSN Player Shoot – a CFL ON TSN production shoot with more than 50 CFL players, plus members of the CFL ON TSN broadcast team on-site;
• Media Days – interview and content opportunities with the CFL’s biggest stars;
• Fan Expo – kiddie combine, open mic with the Commissioner, meet-and-greets with players, player panels and cheerleading displays;
• Hall of Fame Gala Dinner – featuring Class of 2017 announcement;
• Coaches’ Media Event– featuring sessions with Head Coaches and GM’s of each team;
• CFL Rules and Competition Committee Meetings;
• Passing Showcase – tournament featuring some of Canadian Football’s rising USports stars;
• Football Saskatchewan Coaches Clinic – two days, sessions with 250+ amateur coaches, Safe Contact Training.

“It is an honour for Saskatchewan to be the site of the first ever CFL Week,” stated Riders President & CEO Craig Reynolds. “The week long showcase will put current, past, and future CFL stars in front of our amazing fans. We are looking forward to welcoming the entire CFL to our beautiful city and province.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 13.

Rask went 4-0-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and
two shutouts to lead the Bruins (10-6-0, 20 points) to four wins in five games as well as
second place in the Atlantic Division. He recorded a pair of clean sheets, with 32 saves
in a 4-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Nov. 7 and 20 saves in a 2-0 triumph over the
Colorado Avalanche Nov. 13, to move into third place on the franchise’s all-time
shutouts list (33). Rask also posted 15 saves in a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue
Jackets Nov. 10 and 31 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Nov. 12. The
29-year-old Savonlinna, Finland, native shares the League lead with 10 wins and three
shutouts in 11 outings this season (10-1-0, 1.54 GAA, .945 SV%, 3 SO). He is the
second goaltender in the Bruins’ 92-year history to win 10 of his first 11 appearances of
a season, following Gerry Cheevers in 1976-77 (also 10-1-0).


Scheifele shared second place in the NHL with 3-3—6 in four games to propel
the Jets (8-7-2, 18 points) to seven out of a possible eight standings points as well as
second place in the Central Division. He matched a career high with 2-2—4 in an 8-2
triumph over the Dallas Stars Nov. 8. Scheifele then collected one assist in a 3-2 victory
over the Arizona Coyotes Nov. 10, one goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado
Avalanche Nov. 11 and the shootout winner in a 3-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Kings
Nov. 13. The 23-year-old Kitchener, Ont., native is tied for the League lead with 20
points in 17 games this season, while his 10 goals share second place behind linemate
Patrik Laine (11).


Rinne compiled a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .976 save
percentage and one shutout to guide the Predators (6-5-3, 15 points) to three wins in
three starts. He opened the week with a pair of 3-1 victories, registering 33 saves
against the Ottawa Senators Nov. 8 and 23 saves versus the St. Louis Blues Nov. 10.
Rinne then posted his 41st career shutout – and first of the season – with 27 stops in a
5-0 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 12. The 34-year-old Kempele, Finland, native
owns a 5-4-3 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 12
appearances this season.

(NHL Media)

Something To "Mitch" About

Image result for darian durant riders

DISCUSSING DARIAN --The CFL is down to its final four, but around these parts, all people want to know about is the future of number 4. Would the Riders really let Darian Durant go to free agency?  Is Chris Jones willing to take that gamble? A few weeks ago, I would have said no and if I had to make a yes or no decision right now I would say no, but ask me again in 24 hours.  You can't go far without some asking whether or not Durant is coming back.  What it seemingly boils down to is what is the market for a quarterback who will be 35 years old when the 2017 season starts?

Let's look around the league. BC is set with Jonathan Jennings and you know the Alberta teams aren't changing their starting quarterback. Winnipeg seems to be content with Matt Nichols, and why wouldn't they after the season he has had.

In the East, do the Alouettes think Vernon Adams Junior is ready? Are the Argos after trading for Drew Willy and trading what ends up being the number one pick overall going to have him serve as a backup? Would Ottawa be interested in picking up Durant knowing they have a great receiving corps and are the GC hosts in 2017 and if so, what does it say about Trevor Harris? I can't see Hamilton doing anything with Zach Collaros.

Durant deserves the money and he will get it.  The Riders want his money to be bonus-laden which is something I understand considering his health the past three years. Durant has said he wants to be here, but he wants to be paid accordingly with what obviously is a higher base salary.  Both have drawn their line in the sand. Who budges?  We may not know until late February which is something Rider Nation doesn't want to hear.

I just can't see the Riders starting life off in their brand new digs without Durant as their starting QB, but I also thought Weston Dressler and John Chick would play their CFL careers in one uniform as well.

Jones has always said he isn't here to win popularity contests, he is here to win championships. His best bet at doing that here is to have Durant as his starting quarterback.  Let's see!

GREAT DAY FOR THE CFL -  With the playoffs here, the CFL needed a couple of great games and they got them. However, Mike O'Shea should be ashamed of himself. Who's kidding who, the Bombers coach pulled the rug out from under his own team with one of the biggest boneheaded coaching decisions in recent memory.  The play of Matt Nichols is the reason you are in the playoffs, your offense has been racking up yards on the BC D all afternoon long and you decide to try a 61 yard FG on 3rd and 4 instead of going for it to give Justin Medlock a better chance. Yes, Medlock is the game's best kicker and yes, you are inside, but 60 yards.  C'mon Mike, give your head a shake!  I hope he apologized to every player and coach in that room when it was said and done because that game and its outcome is on him. To say you have no faith in your offense to convert a 3rd and 4 is astounding. The playoffs are a different animal, and in his first test, O'Shea comes up with an epic fail. He deserves every bit of criticism he gets.

As for the Eastern game, I thought the Ti-Cats were going to find a way to squeak one out, but Edmonton got the big play on defense to win it.  Mike Reilly says he will be ready for the East final after suffering a wrist injury. If he can't, it falls on James Franklin. He just might show the Eskimos they should invest in him and keep him around. It's either that or his trade stock goes up (see story above) if he is successful.  Injuries will never be used as an excuse, but Hamilton had the worst luck of any team with injuries this year and it showed.

BLUE JAYS BLUNDER - In the back of my mind, I thought Ross Shapiro and Ross Atkins could screw up the Blue Jays, but in reality, I didn't think they would. While the window is still there, it appears to be closing significantly. That window can open if Edwin Encarnacion remains in Toronto, but it looks like that won't be happening with Toronto putting their eggs in the basket of Kendrys Morales to fill the void. Edwin is a team leader who can swing the bat and along with Josh Donaldson lead the way.  You said your payroll increased, you led the American League in attendance, TV ratings were off the charts. The opportunity is there, but it appears Shapiro and Atkins have soiled themselves and their fan-base with their off-season plan. I am guessing there aren't many Toronto fans out there excited at the prospect of Justin Smoak playing first base every day.  It was fun while it lasted.

 That being said, the Blue Jays could improve themselves if rumours about the Pirates wanting to trade center-fielder Andrew McCutchen are true. He had an off year last season, but he can play the game and be a player who could help Toronto in a variety of roles. If that meant sending Kevin Pillar on his way, I say do it.

  By the way, what will R-A Dickey's time in Toronto be described as?  I would have to say disappointing and a fail. He never, ever was what Toronto thought he would be when they got him from the Mets.

HEY CANADA, REMEMBER US -- Yes, we are a hockey nation, but it just astounds me as to how the Toronto Raptors get little or no love until the final month of the regular season.

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The Raptors are 7-2, and Demar DeRozan is having one of the best starts to a season that an NBA player has ever had. DeRozan should be in that Josh Donaldson, Auston Matthews conversation when it comes to Toronto sports stars, but he seemingly continues to fly under the radar as does his team.  They aren't in that Cleveland/Golden State stratusphere, but they are definitely near the top of list when it comes to good teams in the NBA.  There is only so much of the publicity pie to go around, but I would think Canada's only NBA team should have a bigger piece of it.

CONOR STEALS THE SHOW - The UFC's first foray into the World's Most Famous Arena (no, not the Art Hauser Centre) was a success thanks to its biggest star.  He re-defines the word "cocky" and he is a tad insufferable when he tastes success, but Conor McGregor does what he does and like him or not, he knows exactly what he is doing. His post-fight remarks after his knockout win over Eddie Alvarez was pure gold. You could talk about the two Polish girls (I'm not even going to try and spell their names) going toe-to-toe or the Tyron Woodley- Stephen Thompson majority draw, but everyone is talking about McGregor and it will be that way for as long as the one time Irish plumber wants it to be that way. Love him or hate him, you have to watch him and he always come through. 

SEAHAWKS-PATRIOTS - What a knockdown, drag-out fight that was as the classic game we expected occurred,. In the end, Seattle's defence had a goal-line stand to preserve a victory as Tom Brady's 4th down pass to Rob Gronkowski from the 2 fell incomplete.  Wait a minute, New England couldn't score from the goal-line late in the game especially when they had a running back who had scored three touchdowns in this game already. Imagine that!!

That's all I got.  Have a great week!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lest We Forget

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This And That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--The season is over in Riderville.  Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones faced the media on Monday and Jones said what I expected him to say except for one thing.  To say I was shocked when he said he was giving himself an "F" for the 5-13 season that just transpired.  An "F"?! Wow! Some will obviously agree with that, but whether or you are with Jones or against him, you have to agree the degree of accountability he is taking is immense and frankly, it is refreshing.

Corey Chamblin never took any accountability for what was happening when the Rider fortunes started going south in the 2nd half of 2013 and Greg Marshall's "It's not up to me to motivate the players" quote during his short-lived tenure showed you how much accountability he had.

Jones eats, drinks and breathes football. That is plain to see. He doesn't like the fact he isn't going to the playoffs for the first time in his 15 year CFL career. He doesn't like the fact his team won just 5 games this year, and that he had to bring in over 100 guys to try and get a roster he liked. There is no downtime for this guy. He says there are many free agent camps happening before Christmas. He continues to look for players who he thinks can help the Riders out moving forward. More importantly, the thought of losing like he did this season seemingly eats him up.  He does not like being in the position he does, and I am 110 percent certain he will not have this football team in this predicament 365 years from now.

Yes, Jones did a lot of things wrong in year 1, but he is admitting to that. He did some things right too, and he should get some credit for that. A guy can be his own worst critic, and Jones certainly lives up to that.   Suffice to say, he won't be taking much off-time in the off-season.

--Is Tim Hortons a sponsor of the CFL? The reason I ask is I would like to see the CFL piggyback off a great promotion that Tim's runs every year with the NHL.  The hockey card promotion draws extra people to a place which is already busy enough. You can get physical cards or an on-line set.  Could we not translate this to the CFL? Yes, you won't get a chance to win one of 87 Sidney Crosby autographed cards, but you could offer up some sweet prizes including some trips to the Grey Cup and other things. Kids love collecting cards, and this would be a great way to engage the younger demographic. There were many kids asking Mom and Dad to go to Tims to get coffee so they could get cards and there were many adults (yes I was one of them) making an extra trip for coffee so I could purchase some.

--Richard Sherman would make a great wrestling heel! The Seahawks DB is the best at getting under other players skin as evidenced Monday night. He also knows exactly what he is doing. He's the agitator you hate in the NHL. Yeah, if I wasn't a Seahawks fan, I would probably be right in there with the Sherman hate, but I'm not. Leafs fans loved Darcy Tucker and that was it! Keep doin what you do Richard!! One other thing, that was one of the worst acting jobs ever by Bills kicker Dan Carpenter. That was just embarassing even for a kicker. There are some soccer players who might have even found that display amusing.

--I love what Rock Creek Tap and Grill are doing with the University of Regina Cougars, and I hope more businesses get on board. The restaurant has come up with a "Cougar Burger". It is a burger brushed with sweetened chipotle beer sauce and topped with cheese, maple bacon, lettuce and tomato. One dollar from every burger consumed at their Quance and Normanview locations goes to the Cougars and Rams for costs associated with equipment, uniforms, coaching and travel. The promotion will run until May. It isn't easy for the U of R to get the $$$ needed for these things and any little bit of help like what Rock Creek is doing is tremendous. If more businesses do something like this, it is one less problem for the coaches and it helps make U of R athletics better.  Maybe they need to bring some mobile kitchens to the CKHS and Co-Operators Centre?? Yes, I know that won;t be happening, but one can dream!

--When was the last time the NHL had a better crop of rookies? Patrick Laine leads the league in goals and has Winnipeg fans thinking thGreey are indeed seeing the next Teemu Selanne.  The trio of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner are giving Leafs fans some serious optimism moving forward. Others like Jimmy Vesey, former Pats prospect Brady Skjei, and Zach Werenski have had great starts to the season and there is a thought Jesse Pulijarvi may be ready to break out soon in Edmonton. Just picking three finalists for the Calder Trophy won't be easy much less select a winner if this continues.

--Why did the NHL schedule the first ever game between Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby on election night? You can't tell me the league didn't know that was the case. What was also bad is the game was shown to just the local markets and wasn't a nationally televised game in either country. How is a McDavid-Crosby matchup not a Hockey Night in Canada game or a game on NBCSN or just NBC, If the league has no interest in showing McDavid play because he is on a Canadian team, will the same be said for Auston Matthews down the road. What about Laine? The NHL isn't helping themselves out.

--Week 10 NFL Lock Of The Week --  Packers over Titans
  Week 10 NFL Upset Of The Week --  Steelers over Cowboys

--Did the Moose Jaw Warriors send the Regina Pats a message this week? The Warriors obviously feel they can challenge the Queen City Kids by getting the league's 3rd leading scorer last year--Brayden Burke out of Lethbridge. I think its safe to say the Moose Jaw-Regina rivalry could be coming back. I don't think I am alone when I say seeing the Warriors and Pats battle it out in a WHL East final would be an event like we have never seen before. With the likes of Steel, Brooks, Hobbs, Wagner and Leschyshyn on one side and Howden, Gregor, Burke, Sawchenko and Zaitsev on the other, it just might happen this year. I would have loved to have gone to the game at Mosaic Place last night, but rest assured I'll be checking the calendar to see when the two teams go head-to-head this year.  It might be the best hockey you see this winter. All indications are the 5-4 Pats OT win was one to behold.

--R.A Dickey is an Atlanta Brave. It is safe to say the Blue Jays roster got a little better on Thursday. I don't care if the guy ate up innings, he was a disaster in Toronto as far as I'm concerned, and the fact the Jays gave up Noah Syndergaard to get him was an egregious mistake. Where would Toronto have ended up if Syndergaard was in that rotation?

--It is November 11 and that is a day to remember those who fought for our freedom. The veterans are leaving us slowly as they age. We can never give up the opportunity to thank them for their service to this country. Wear a poppy with pride today wherever you may be.