There is going to be a distinct Edmonton flavour to this post, but as you move on, I think you'll understand so without any further adieu, let's go
SEE YA ED - We found out again this week wins and losses don't mean everything when it comes to employment. I was as shocked as anyone upon hearing the news Ed Hervey had been dismissed as GM of the Eskimos, but all rumblings out of the Alberta capital suggest he brought it on himself. Just a short while after the "accessibility" of the CFL was praised at CFL Week in Regina, Eskimos president Len Rhodes made the move to fire his GM with one of the main reasons being he just didn't make his team accessible enough and was not media-friendly. There is no doubt Hervey embarassed the Eskimos with the "CFL Miked-Up" segment when the team originally said they would do it, then balked which resulted in the league stepping in and forcing it to happen---sort of.
Hervey wanted to be the bully, and he ended up being shown the door. The question is now what? With the draft just mere weeks away, Paul Jones is the interim GM, but where do you go in looking for a replacement. You can get guys currently employed by a team if you get permission from both the current team AND Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge or you can go out and get guys who are looking for work like Brendan Taman or Jim Barker. How long will be it be before Rhodes pulls the trigger and brings a new man in, and how much will it affect the EE. Don't tell me not having a GM didn't affect Toronto when it came to free agency this year. One has to think the situation mushroomed in Edmonton in a hurry or else this move would have been made a while ago. It also makes one wonder if CFL Week was the last nail in Hervey's coffin.
THE WAIT IS OVER - Yes, the Oilers didn't wait till the last night of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot as the "Decade of Disaster" is now in the rear-view window, but Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle helped cap off a regular season that this Oilers fan wasn't expecting back in October. I thought the Oilers would be on the cusp of a playoff spot, but just fall short when the season started. That was a swing and a miss. McDavid was McDavid and with spectacular seasons from Leon Draisiatl, Patrick Maroon and Cam Talbot they came within a point of the Pacific Division championship.
I think everyone who roots for one of the Alberta teams was hoping for a Calgary-Edmonton first round matchup, and yes, that would have been tremendous. Can we see it in Round 2? Keep your fingers crossed. If Calgary can find a way to win a game in Anaheim, I can see it happening. Yes, as an Oiler fan you know I am rooting for the Ducks, just like Calgary fans will be rooting for the Sharks, but perhaps both fanbases can lock arms, sing Kumbaya, and unite for a couple of weeks while adopting a "Beat California" type of mentality.
Eberle seems to have shaken off a season-long slump and is firing on all cylinders as he prepares to play in his first Stanley Cup playoff game after 500 plus regular season games.
It starts Wednesday night, and yes, I will be unavailable from 8 until about 1030 or later on that evening.
One other thing---why isn't Todd McLellan in the conversation for Coach of the Year?
Oh yeah, where do you take McDavid in a playoff draft? I was in one on Sunday and he went 6th after Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin, Kane and Backstrom. No, it was not me picking 6th. In fact, the only Oilers I got were Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula. My money is on a Boston-St. Louis final which means my bank account won't be growing once the Cup is handed out. That being said, I am more confident in Boston beating Ottawa than I was in them beating Washington. I do think St. Louis gets rid of Minnesota in Round 1.
OFF TO SWIFT - While the topic wasn't one you want to talk about when it comes to the Regina Pats, it was nice to have some Pats-related questions asked to me while out and about on the weekend. Those questions were all about captain Adam Brooks. He left Game 2 with a leg injury, and it was asked on Sunday if it was true he had broken his leg. Uhhhhhhhhhh NO! Where did that rumour get started? Brooks is a question mark going into Game 3 tonight, but whether or not he is there, the Broncos need to find a way to shut down a Regina offence that has registered 94 shots on goal in the first two games.
While Swift Current has a split, they have to reduce that number or hope Jordan Papirny does what he did in Game 1 three more times, and with all apologies to Swift, I don't think he can. What type of energy do the Broncos draw from being back on home ice? We'll find out at 7.
CONGRATULATIONS MITCHY - What a thrill it must have been for Garrett Mitchell on Sunday. The former Pats captain found out he was going to make his NHL debut in the Caps last game of the year against Florida. It was quite the emotional moment when he found out.. Click here to see that. He then ended up on a line to open the game with Ovie and Nick Backstrom, and Backstrom welcomed him to the NHL in quite a special way. Click here to see that. It was great to see Mitchy finally have his moment. Many had to be smiling in this town. I know we say we are an Oilers town here, but there is a strong Regina tie to the Capitals as well thanks to Ross Mahoney.
CANADA OWNS CURLING - So let me get this straight. Canada is the reigning Olympic champion in both mens and womens curling thanks to Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs. We are the current world champs in womens thanks to Rachel Homan's perfect run last month, and now we are the world champs in mens play thanks to Gushue duplicating what Homan did and going through the Worlds unscathed.
From Gretzky to Gushue, fans at Northlands Coliseum celebrated one last championship on that ice Sunday night in something which was almost pre-destined. I've seen Gushue curl for many years, but I don't think I have ever seen him as dialled in as what he was this week. Did he miss a shot? Certainly not when it mattered. He will be in Regina in 2018 for the Brier and if he curls like he did this past week, he may have his second World championship to look forward to.
SERGIOOOOOOO - Scratch Sergio Garcia's name off of that list of players who have never won a major. The Spaniard has a green jacket. I am usually riveted to the couch for the Masters, but this year, I hardly saw any. I didn't even see Garcia win it in a playoff over Justin Rose. I kept seeing updates and yes, I kept waiting to see Garcia had blown it, but he didn't. In looking at the highlights, it looked like he scrambled his way to victory hitting many big recovery shots. If you're a golf fan, you have to be happy for Sergio.. By the way, if you ever hear me say this could be the breakthrough event for Kevin Kisner, just ignore it. I don't know why I keep thinking that guy is going to come up big and be in contention at a major. It's like thinking the Sharks would win the Stanley Cup a few years ago as they kept having the teams to do so only to fail miserably.
AND SO IT STARTS - Not a good first week for those oh so lovable Toronto Blue Jays. It hasn't even been a week and there's been a dust-up. Troy Tulowitzki went a little overboard in his disgust with a slide by Tampa's Steven Souza Junior on Sunday resulting in words being had. Really? Are we going to start this again? No thanks!
WELCOMING THE WORLD - The USA, Canada and Mexico are going to launch a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup. I don't know how that bid would work and how many Canadian cities would be involved, but I certainly know of a stadium where some games could be played. It's a little venue at Evraz Place for those who don't know. I think seeing part of the world's biggest sporting event in our province would be something special. It may just be a pipe-dream though.
That's all I got. Rod is in Vegas this week (tough life), so you've got me to deal with in the Cage. Sorry bout that! Talk to ya at 4!