Friday, March 17, 2017
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 the Regina Pats. They will put the finishing touches on what has been a regular season to remember with a home-and-home against the Brandon Wheat Kings this weekend. What a season it has been! 50 wins and the WHL regular season title. What does it mean? ZIP! The team that wins the Presidents Trophy in the NHL doesn't automatically win the Stanley Cup. The Victoria Royals won the Scotty Munro Trophy last season for winning the regular season, and they didn't even get to the WHL final.
In fact, you have to go back to the Portland Winterhawks in the 2012-13 season to have the team that got the SMT getting the league championship. The work is just getting started and many good teams will race to see who can get 16 wins first. It is going to be a fun ride though and I can't wait for one week from tonight when the playoffs get going. Let's hope we see a long playoff run emerge at the Brandt Centre. The Regina hockey fan deserves it! They invested a lot in this group this year and they will again next with the Memorial Cup being here. Queen City Sports and Entertainment had a vision for this club when they bought it. A plan was put in place, and that plan has worked to fruition so far. For the first time in a long time, the Brandt Centre was the place to be this winter and it will hopefully be the place to be this spring. It's been a long, tough wait!
--As the Pats get ready to head down the playoff trail, the guy with the "C" on his sweater must be looking back and thanking the hockey gods that the ownership group brought John Paddock on board. Where would Adam Brooks be today if it weren't for Paddock. He wouldn't be in Regina, and chances are he might have been playing for the University of Manitoba Bisons. Brooks is one of the top 10 scorers in Pats history and one can only imagine where he would have been if he hadn't toiled under Malcolm Cameron for two seasons. Cameron obviously had no idea what he had staring him in the face, but Paddock did. Brooks has seen the highs and he has seen the lows. He won't be around to enjoy what will happen here next season, so I'm guessing there will be an extra fire in his gut knowing he only gets one shot at this. That isn't good news for teams across the league. Oh well!
--Speaking of the hockey gods, they must not have liked the oh so lame meme that was referenced in Monday's column by Murray GM in Moose Jaw in referring to the Pats before the two teams had their big home and home. Since that tweet, the Pats haven't lost and the Warriors haven't won.
--The U of R Rams have a former offensive lineman that played for them now in charge of the team and he is succeeding. The U of S Huskies are using the same blueprint with Scott Flory hoping he can pick up where Brian Towriss left off and then some. Wait a minute, the Rams have a former o-lineman running their team and so do the Huskies. Is Mike Abou-Mechrek about to apply for the head coaching gig at Western? It's a joke Mike....relax!
--Are you ready for CFL Week? I thought so! Say what you will about it, but we won't have the ability to see what we are going to see in Regina over the next week at one time and dare I say it, that might include a Grey Cup. Would you see the players that are coming made available during Grey Cup Week at one time? I'm not sure!
I do have to wonder what is going through and what will go through the mind of Darian Durant as he returns to Regina as an Alouette. That may be as tough for him as it is for the fans. Who will the most popular CFL'er be amongst those coming? I would think Durant would be right up there, but I have to think the honour goes to Weston Dressler. Rider Nation still loves #7 and why not? He's one of us. He gets it. In all my years covering the CFL, I don't think I will ever get over the way he sat and signed autographs for fans after last year's Labour Day Game. It was amazing to see the love Rider Nation had for him and the way he accepted it all and made the day of many who wanted an autograph or a picture. Speaking of which, will fans be able to interact with opposition players at the new Mosaic the way they did at the old one? It was always great emerging from the Rider dressing room to see fans young and old hoping to get a moment with a player from an opposing team. You sure wouldn't see that in the NFL!
I also wonder what type of reception Bo Levi Mitchell will get. Being the quarterback of the Calgary Stampeders automatically makes you the enemy in these parts, and after his involvement with Rostergate last year. Let's just say Rider fans have a tough time letting water go under the bridge. Isn't that right Henry Burris?
One of the events that will happen is the announcement of what players will be enshrined in the CFL Hall of Fame. The Riders Gregg Sauter may have let part of the announcement slip on Wednesday when he was in the Sportscage as he alluded to the names of Anthony Calvillo and Geroy Simon. If they are going in, I don't think anyone can complain about those selections.
--The Calgary Flames won 10 straight hockey games until Boston beat them on Wednesday. Can we somehow blame this on Donald Trump? Still with the Flames, NHL commish Gary Bettman was in Calgary Wednesday one day after being in Edmonton where he toured Rogers Place. Calgary wants something like Rogers Place oh so bad and they aren't getting it anytime soon. Bettman is lobbying officials to make something happen, but it's not going to in the near future as long as the economy continues to suffer. Poor Calgary! They just can't take what their neighbour to the north has. They don't even like the fact that Regina has a shiny new toy, and they don't. It breaks my heart! That being said, it is hard to fathom that once the Red Wings move into Little Caesars Arena that the Saddledome will be the 2nd oldest building in the NHL. It opened in 1983. If its out of date, what the hell am I. That building can get renovations. I think its too late for me.
--Did you fill out a March Madness bracket? Did you fill out more than one?
--Brad Marchand is in the running to be the NHL's leading scorer. Let that sink in for just one moment! He might also have the most goals in the league when all is said and done. Again, just absorb that for a while!
--When the Canadiens traded PK Subban for Shea Weber, I said the Montreal Canadiens got closer to a Stanley Cup. I stand by that statement.
--I was asked the other day if the Minnesota Wild can be considered a Stanley Cup contender. Yes, they can, but consider Bruce Boudreau's history as a head coach in the playoffs. I can't buy stock in them right now. To tell you the truth, I don't know who I would take as it stands right now. If I was a betting man, I would go safe and take Chicago. They just seem to be the most complete squad from top to bottom.
--I don't know if a Pandora's Box is being opened by the US National Women's Hockey team, but they are taking a stand for something in refusing to play at the upcoming World Championships. I get the feeling this story is going to get uglier before it gets better. I also get the feeling Canada will win gold, but it will be a hollow good---bigtime!
--The Seattle Mariners have the best TV ads. The Blue Jays could take a lesson from them if last year's ads were any indication.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend! Have a great St. Patrick's Day and wear green today. Oh wait, around these parts we seemingly wear green everyday.