Friday, December 23, 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.
Congratulations to a pair of players who are looking to take their game to the next level. I couldn't be happier for Regina Rams receiver Riley Wilson after he signed a deal with the Ottawa REDBLACKS this week. I've been a big fan of the Rams #83 for the past few years. Yes, Noah Picton had many great receivers to choose from when it came to spinning the football downfield, but when a big catch was needed, he went to Wilson a lot and Wilson came through. If all goes well for him, I see him as being one of those dependable receivers that you throw to on 2nd down to move the sticks.
Meanwhile, it wasn't surprising to hear the Anaheim Ducks had signed Pats forward Sam Steel to a contract. Why wouldn't they? He's only leading the WHL in scoring at the Christmas break and has shown the Ducks were wise in making him their first round pick this season. There is no reason to think that after a couple of years in the American Hockey League that we will be watching Steel do his thing for the Ducks.
Many are still perturbed over the fact Steel isn't on the World Junior team. I understand that and wonder how Steel could be left off the team. I'm still scratching my head over the fact the number 1 team in the Canadian Hockey League has NO representation on Team Canada this year. I will be looking at the blueline very carefully because I am more shocked Connor Hobbs didn't get an invite than I am over Steel not making it. I haven't seen any of the pre-tournament games so I can't even start comparing guys on the team to Steel and Hobbs.
I think it is safe to say there is a lot of interest in Imperial, Saskatchewan for what happens in Toronto and Montreal. The only Saskatchewan representation comes from the town about 90 minutes north of Moose Jaw on Highway 2. Connor Ingram and Kris Knoblauch have given the town a lot to be proud of and you know the town will close when Canada is playing. There is still some chatter about Ingram ending up with the Pats. I don't know if that happens, but we'll see. It sounds like John Paddock will make a deal if the deal is right for not only this year, but next.
When the WHL returns from its Xmas break, the Moose Jaw Warriors will be five points back of Regina in the East. After seeing Moose Jaw hold their own for 5 of 6 periods in a back to back series before the break, I wonder if the Warriors would try to get a Jake Bean or a Tyler Benson to neutralize some of Regina's speed. I get the feeling the Warriors are going to try and be a real thorn in Regina's side before this year is over, and you know they would LOVE nothing more than to knock off their Highway 1 rivals.
As discussed on the Sportscage Wednesday, while Rider fans want to see Darian Durant back, they have to come to the serious realization he may not be. If he doesn't, Durant will be the latest Rider to go elsewhere. Yes, it won't be his fault, but we have seen popular Riders come and go and we have survived. The same thing will happen here.
Week 16 NFL Lock of The Week -- Seahawks over Cardinals
Week 16 NFL Upset of The Week -- Bucs over Saints
If Angel Hernandez is considered the worst umpire in MLB, than Chris Lee has to be the worst guy wearing the orange armbands in the NHL. I'm not sure about what he is seeing out there, but it's not what we are.
Who had the Columbus Blue Jackets as one of the top teams in the NHL at Christmas? Who had the Oilers in a first place battle in the Pacific at Christmas?
Speaking of the Oilers, they did something the other night they have rarely done over the past few years and that is get down and get dirty. The actions and play of Zack Kassian and Matt Hendricks against Arizona was the grit and nastiness that team has been missing. Oliver Ekman Larsson wanted to start something and Kassian finished it.
This just in---the current braintrust of the Cleveland Indians are smarter than the ones they replaced. That would be Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins. If Edwin Encarnacion truly wanted to stay in Toronto, the Jays could have easily matchd what Encarnacion will get in Cleveland. The Indians just took a step closer to being back in the World Series while Toronto took two steps back and may not even be considered a playoff team now. Edwin joins a team that was one game away from winning it all last year and Cleveland will also have Michael Brantley back after not having him last year. Your move American League!
There is no doubt in my mind the "resignation" of Brian Towriss was a basic repeat of what happened in Regina. The only difference is B-T doesn't get a farewell tour like Frank McCrystal did. The Moose Jaw native leaves with a resume second to none in Canadian university football. His 196 wins are the most of any Canadian university football coach and 196 more than Mike Gibson. B-T deserves every accolade he gets, and deserves a lot better from a University that he put on the football map.
That's all I got. Merry Christmas to everyone. Thanks for checkin in! If you're travelling, be safe!