THE SCRUFFY CURSE? - With regular Pats public address announcer Darren Szabo off doing god knows what, I filled in for "the voice" at their game Saturday night against Moose Jaw. As the buzzer sounded putting the wraps on what was a terrible effort by the home team in a 4-1 loss, 620 CKRM's Brandon Basler looked at me and said "Was that the Scruffy Curse?" I don't know if it was, but I would think Darren should be re-negotiating his wage for what he gets for doing the games so that he doesn't miss any others. What does he get per game anyhow? I have no idea if I will fill in for him again this year or not, but if I do, and it's a game against Prince Albert and they lose, there may be some validity to Basler's comments.
While Regina has three games in hand, the Warriors are four points back of Regina in the East. The trade of Nikita Popugaev to Prince George made me wonder what Moose Jaw's plans are at the trade deadline. I'm really interested to see what they do.
For that matter, I am interested in seeing what a lot of teams do. There is talk the Pats want some goaltending depth because of the injury to Jordan Hollett. One name being floated about is Saskatoon's Logan Flodell. If that were to happen, it would leave the Pats with two 20 year old goaltenders going into next season which as we know could be a Memorial Cup host season. Do the Pats want two 20 year old tenders? They could obviously deal one of them in the off-season and while a chance at hosting the Memorial Cup there, the chance of being in the Memorial Cup are front and center for John Paddock and company.
Speaking of Paddock, congratulations to him and his staff on his 100th coaching win Friday over Calgary. Paddock wasn't in the mood to celebrate that accomplishment though as he told Pats p x p man Phil Andrews after the win over the Hitmen that if another effort was given like that, they would get beat 5-0 by Moose Jaw. How prophetic!
WHO WANTS IT OUT WEST? - As mentioned, the WHL trade deadline is this week and many teams have already made moves. Kelowna gets Reid Gardiner from the Raiders as he will come back from the AHL to play with his brother Erik, Prince George gets Popugaev and Kamloops gets Lane Bauer from Edmonton. I'm guessing those three teams aren't done. The question is will whoever comes out of the BC Division have enough to beat Everett?
WELL DONE MOOSE JAW - Rogers Hometown Hockey looked great coming from the corner of Main Street and River Street in Moose Jaw. You knew the good people of the Friendly City would come through. There were several good stories about hockey in the area including the one of Warriors scout Justin Rayner who was paralyzed while playing hockey as a teenager.
In the category of you learn something new every day, I found out Cam Neely spent time in the Moose Jaw minor hockey system. Sportsnet put up a graphic saying what players had come out of Moose Jaw and when Neely's came up I scoffed putting it up on Twitter that Neely was a BC boy. As was sent to me by my good friend Tom Pura in Grande Prairie who looked it up, Neely was indeed born in Comox, but the ex Portland Winterhawk and Boston Bruin great spent a decade in Moose Jaw. You can look that up right here. Did anyone reading this know Neely was a product of MJ Minor Hockey?
WELL DONE ROB - The Leader Post's Rob Vanstone had an outstanding article on the old home of the Pats--Exhibition Stadium--in Saturday's paper. That is where many of us grew up watching the Pats seeing the likes of Dennis Sobchuk. Ed Staniowski, Clark Gillies and others. I know I have said this before whether it be on this blog or on the Sportscage, but it saddens me knowing a piece of Regina sports history didn't really get its proper due in saying farewell like another building close to it. Exhibition Stadium probably means as much to old-time Pat fans as Taylor Field was to the older generation of Rider fans.
When you went in that rink, you were experiencing something and I am guessing in its heyday, it was the place to be in Regina over the winter time. I have some fond memories of being in that rink with one of them being an interview with Jarome Iginla when Kamloops was here to play the Pats in a game I did on Access 7. Yes, that was a lonnnnnnng time ago. The Blazers were practicing at the Ex and I spoke with Iggy and Nolan Baumgartner (remember him) for an intermission feature.
I also remember Tiger Williams going into the stands one night as I sat on the other side of the rink not believing what I was seeing, and I saw current Pats president Todd Lumbard duck on a shot from just over center in 83 when the Pats had to go back into the Ex for a playoff game against Calgary. The goal by Scott Makin turned out to be the winner as Mike Vernon shut the door as the Wranglers eliminated the Pats. (Sorry Todd!)
The wrecking ball will soon take away a piece of Regina sports history as construction on the International Trade Centre begins. Sadly, there is no fanfare for that place which I think is rather sad. That building had a lot of history in it....a lot!
ARE THE BLADES FOR SALE? - An interesting story came out of Saskatoon Saturday where Kevin Mitchell of the Star-Phoenix reported Saskatchewan Rush owner Bruce Urban wants to buy the Blades. Urban telling Mitchell if the deal is right, he would love to add Saskatoon's junior hockey team to his stable alongside his highly successful lacrosse operation. Blades owner and GM (that sounds familiar) Colin Priestner says no sale is imminent. I would think the Blades would be a lot better off with Urban calling the shots for a variety of reasons, but the for sale sign isn't up----at least not yet!
THE FUTURE OF KEVIN GLENN - Is there one? Some are wondering if a 3rd stint in Saskatchewan is coming seeing the future of Darian Durant remains clouded. Nothing against Kevin, but is he the guy you want if Durant goes elsewhere? Is it time for him to hang it up? Who's kidding who, the Eskimos should sign him so he can say he played for every team in the CFL. If that doesn't guarantee him a spot in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, what does?
NFL YAWNERS - The home teams did the expected in the NFL and won their first round playoff games. but all of them were duds. The Giants-Packers looked to be entertaining until Aaron Rodgers hit yet another Hail Mary at the end of the half which basically deflated New York's balloon. I have to think the Raiders would have beaten Houston had Derek Carr been at quarterback, but I don't know if Ryan Tannehill would have led Miami to a win over Pittsburgh. The only gimme next weekend should see New England paste the Texans, but the other three should be good games especially the Seahawks in Atlanta and Dallas home to the Packers.
By the way, do the networks try and make the referees look bad in the U-S? Paul Richardson made a fantastic catch in the Seahawks-Detroit game for a TD. No one thought anything of it until about a half hour later when NBC comes on and says the touchdown shouldn't have counted because Richardson was grabbing the Detroit players facemask. Did anyone see that when the play happened? Fast forward to the Packers-Giants game and Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson gets hurt after getting hit on the sideline by a Giants defensive back. Again, much later in FOX's broadcast, it is announced the Giants player should have been penalized for hitting a defenceless receiver. Again, no one noticed it when it happened live. Are the networks just waiting to pounce on any mistake by the stripes? It seems as if they are. This, and video replay, is what makes it tough for the officials, and yes, I am just as quick to harp on those mistakes as the next guy, but pointing out something that has happened wayyyyyyy after the fact isn't going to help. By the way, had penalties been called on those plays, it wouldn't have changed the outcome in either.
One other thing, and I don't know the answer on this. Are CFL officiating crews the same or are they different from week to week? The performance or lack of it by NFL officials this weekend was blamed on the fact that "all-star" crews were put together meaning the usual crews who worked all year did not. Does Andre Proulx work with the same group each week, does Al Bradbury and Kim Murphy. If they don't, it would explain some of the confusion we see from week to week in the CFL. I honestly don't know if the same group of guys work week to week with one another in the CFL. I need to find that out.
ZEKE WOWS REGINA - Jays outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was in Regina Friday for the Pats game as the home side wore special Blue Jays uniforms that were auctioned off. I am guessing it is a day Carrera won't forget. The Venezuelan has probably never felt more popular than he did Friday. He certainly doesn't get the attention in Toronto he got in Regina Friday night. If things don't pan out in Toronto, maybe Gary Brotzel and Bernie Eiswirth could get him playing right field for the Red Sox!
Yes, I know that isn't going to happen, but Carrera found out first hand the Blue Jays love Regina has. That will continue this week when the TD Winter Tour comes to town with Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada scheduled to be here with a couple of events planned. I don't know if there is a public autograph session scheduled, but hopefully for those who love their Jays there is as they will be mobbed the way Carrera was. I won't see it. I will be in Edmonton as I am heading to watch the Oilers play the Sharks and Devils this week. Can't wait to see what type of reaction Taylor Hall gets in his first game back in Edmonton.
That's all I got. Have a great week!