COULD IT BE? - If it is being discussed, I've missed it. We could be in for a first round "Battle of Alberta" in the Stanley Cup playoffs! The arrival of Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, Leon Draisaitl, Sean Monahan, Oscar Klefbom and TJ Brodie has resulted in both teams having much better fortunes. Look at the standings now, and you will see there is a chance the Oilers and Flames could finish 2nd and 3rd in the Pacific and meet in the 1st round of the playoffs. How great would that be! It's too bad the teams won't play again this regular season. Seeing a home and home on the last weekend of the season would have been tremendous.
Meanwhile, as has been said a few times this winter, I just can't imagine what it is like to be a Winnipeg Jets fan. They are so close, but so far it would seem. Talk about an up and down team! One week they look dead in the water, the next week they look like they can't be beat. Yes, it was Colorado, but the Jets were dominant Saturday night in a 6-1 spanking of the horrid Avs. If they play like that down the stretch, they will make the playoffs and they will be tough. One can't help but think though they will have a couple of bad losses this week and have the eulogies get written again for this year.
I don't know how hard Kevin Cheveldayoff tried when it came to getting a goalie, but I can't believe he couldn't pry an upgrade in that area at the trade deadline. One other thing, Patrik Laine is my Calder Trophy winner. Take nothing away from Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but Laine is the guy!
MEMORIAL CUP HANGOVER - As stated Friday, I still have confidence in the Regina Pats winning the WHL's Eastern Conference. That confidence was shaken somewhat after Medicine Hat rallied in the 3rd to steal a win out of the Brandt Centre followed by the Calgary Hitmen taking it to John Paddock's proteges on Saturday. The team got a big win in Brandon on Sunday to stop the bleeding. As a Pats fan told me on the weekend, this team has been a 500 team since the awarding of the Memorial Cup. Has the team started to think ahead to next year? I can't see Paddock allowing that to happen. There is a home and home this weekend against Moose Jaw. What kind of playoff-like atmosphere will there be at the Brandt Centre on Friday and Mosaic Place on Saturday? The Warriors might be the best team in the WHL right now. OK, they are! Get your popcorn ready!
One other item concerning the Pats was the article in Saturday's Leader-Post about their financial situation. One would think Queen City and Entertainment are making money on their investment. Right now, the answer to that is no. It makes you wonder with the teams they had just what type of losses the Parker family endured. Let's just put it this way. I think QCSE is spending a lot more than what the Parkers did and it is showing by what you are seeing on the ice since they took over. I don't think Anthony Marquart and company are concerned about the bottom line right now. They are concerned about what is happening both this year and next. If the team doesn't make money this year and next, they may start to worry. Until then though.......................
CONVERSATIONS OVER CAKE! - If you go to Riderville.com, you will see a feature starring Dan Clark called "Conversations over Cake" where he has an informal discussion with former Rider Ben Heenan while chowing down on some cake. BRILLIANT!! Once again, the Riders are ahead of the curve. This segment has to continue all year.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? - Islander rookie Josh Ho-Sang is wearing the number 66 and some are upset about it because he had the gall to wear Mario Lemieux's number. ???? Is Ho-Sang playing for the Penguins? Did Mario play for the Islanders? Did the NHL say no other player in league histoIry was to wear 66? WHO CARES?? Did people make this argument for players who wore 4 or 9? Exactly!
WHO IS REPLACING BT? - We all know Brian Towriss is no longer the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan football program. We also know Brian Guebert and Scott Flory were named interim head coaches, but that was back on January 12. Do they have the job? I know some felt Flory was going to be the guy and it was just a matter of time until that happened even when Towriss was there. If you are going to make it permanent, you should do so before spring camp starts and I'm guessing that isn't that far away. I've heard a couple of names. One I can't see, the other I can. That's as far as I'm going to go on that one.
THE BEAT GOES ON -
Picture Courtesy Arthur Images/U of R
University women's basketball in this province is in fine hands with Lisa Thomaidis coaching the University of Saskatchewan and Canada's national team, and Dave Taylor coaching the University of Regina. That was evident again this weekend in Saskatoon at the Canada West Final Four as the two provincial schools battled it out for conference supremacy. In the end, the Huskies used homecourt to their advantage as they beat Regina 64-53. It is the 8th time in the last decade the U of R has played in the Canada West final, but sadly Taylor is 1-7. He deserves better!
The Cougars and Huskies are both off to the national championship next weekend in Victoria. I think I speak for many when I say a repeat of the Canada West final would be outstanding with the game on national TV to showcase Saskatchewan basketball. The end result needs to be different though. Sorry Saskatoon! Good luck to both programs though---two of the best in this country. The way the draw is set up, we could very well see that rematch. I sure hope so!
One other thing and that is it was great to see U of S supporters come to a basketball game and make some noise and get into it. While the Cougar women get decent crowds for their games. there isn't a lot of noise in the CKHS. That needs to change. Homecourt advantage was huge for the Huskies in this one and for the weekend. Regina sports fans want to sit on their hands and stay quiet. Why is that anyhow?
OFFSEASON, WHAT OFFSEASON - The major league soccer season ended December 10 in Toronto when TFC lost to Seattle. That game came two weeks after Ottawa beat Calgary in the Grey Cup on the same field. The CFL season is two and a half months away, but MLS started on the weekend. Do these guys have an off-season? It took them long enough to end their season, but it doesn't apparently take them long to get going again.
NICE START - Saskatchewan's Adam Casey is 2-1 at the Brier. He still hasn't played the heavyweights though. Getting those wins in the bank means confidence though and Casey and his rink from the Highland should have that as he gets ready to play the likes of Koe, Jacobs, Gushue and Howard. Keep it going kid!
THE K-O SHOW IS OVER - If anyone is shocked over the way the main event at WWE Fastlane went down, you must be new to professional wrestling. From the moment Kevin Owens turned on Chris Jericho, you knew he would lose the belt to Bill Goldberg with Jericho having a role. It happened. Watch Owens now fight Jericho for his US title with Goldberg likely dropping the strap to Lesnar at Wrestlemania and strutting back into the sunset.
TAKE A BOW SASKATCHEWAN - The economy is suffering. We are facing what is likely a bad news budget as the province deals with a one billion dollar deficit, but you still found time to "ring those phones" this weekend. I didn't see a lot of Telemiracle. In fact, I'd be lucky if I saw two hours of the annual 20 hour event. It was great to hear at the end of the 20 hours, another 5 million had been pledged. It is things like this that make Saskatchewan great. Nice job people! Nice job indeed!
GREAT MOTTO - And here's a phrase for you and it is one I should really embrace. The less you care, the happier you will be. I couldn't agree more, but it's tough to act on that sometimes. Did I say sometimes?
That's all I got.. Have a great week everyone!