--The World Juniors are over. The organizing committee deemed it a success. What their definition of success is is one I can't answer. It certainly isn't what I would consider it to be. Canadian fans saved the day by packing the KeyBank Centre for the final game because an empty rink for the final would have been horrendous, and it would have been that way had Canada not been in the game. In fact, I would think it would have been half empty had the host team been in.
At the end of the day, Canada is atop the junior hockey world for the 17th time with one of the most complete teams I have ever seen iced at this event. There were no superstars on this squad, just a bunch of guys who knew their role and got it done. Look no further than Tyler Steenburgen. The Swift Current sniper was the 13th forward on this team. The coaching staff knew he could provide quality minutes when asked upon and he did---did he ever! He picked a fine time to get on the scoreboard didn't he?
The morning after the win though, the attention wasn't on the Canadians it was on Sweden's captain Lias Andersson who couldn't get the silver medal off his neck quick enough before throwing it into the crowd. Did this guy go to the Cam Newton school of sportsmanship? The debate has started as to whether or not Andersson was justified for doing so because he had just lost or if he is being a poor-sport. Put me in the latter category.
As was stated by many people, there is NO Canadian player that would have done that had it been the other way around. Did any Canadian player do that after losing in a shootout to the US last year? Has any Canadian player that has lost in the gold-medal game done that? We know the answer to that. If one has done it, I sure don't remember. Yes, I understand this kid had his heart ripped out, but that is what happens when you play organized sport. I didn't win every game I played growing up and I was on the losing end of a few big games and it hurt. Did it ever! If you want to defend the kid for his actions, you are more than welcome to do so, but those criticizing him are also more than welcome to do so. I really wonder what his teammates (teammates that kept their medal) were thinking. You knew what you signed up for and you knew what could happen. I am sure someday he will regret his move. In the meantime, we move on. It is just a shame his actions seemingly overshadowed that of the gold-medal game and the Canadian kids who have gold around their neck.
--Can it get any uglier in Edmonton? As hall-of-fame sportswriter Terry Jones wrote after the Oilers 4-1 loss in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, they are improving as their last four games have been 5-0, 5-0, 5-1 and 4-1 defeats.
At what point do you start to think about making a coaching change. That is the easiest thing that could be done, but I don't think it is the right thing. This mess goes higher than Todd McLellan doesn't it. GM Peter Chiarelli has to take a lion's share of the blame for not doing anything to improve a team that as we see now over-achieved tremendously last season. One trade of a player who the Oilers would covet now does not an off-season make. Chiarelli was so focussed on signing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiatl to extensions that he seemingly forgot about everything else
As for McLellan, it is obvious the stress of this season is taking its toll on him. He looks horrible! I don't know if it just the lighting, but it also seems as if his dark hair has turned completely grey on him. Maybe he needs to pull off a Glen Gulutzan and fire a stick into the stands while hurling some four letter words. By no means am I advocating a coaching change in Edmonton, but a shake-up is needed. At least the Oilers aren't the Montreal Canadiens, because that is a mess. In fact, what GM is worse in Montreal---Marc Bergevin or Kavis Reed? That would likely go to Bergevin just because of seniority I'd think.
--If Brock Boeser isn't the NHL's top rookie this year, the kid is going to have a horrible 2nd half. How did he fall to 23? I wonder if those in Boston go the Bruins had the 13th, 14th and 15th picks in that draft and did not take guys like Matt Barzal, Kyle Connor and Boeser. Imagine Boston's lineup if they had taken those three! The Canucks have to be ecstatic the North Dakota product fell that far.
--It should be a wild couple of days in the WHL. The Jake Bean to Tri-Cities trade has people buzzing. While Moose Jaw is seen as the overwhelming favourite to be the East rep, there is going to be some great hockey played out in the Western Conference down the stretch. Everett, Portland, Tri-Cities, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria are not going to be an easy out, but the Silvertips may have the best squad. If any team thinks they are getting Carter Hart out of there, they had better think again. For what its worth, like many others I did not see the trade with Prince George that brings Jesse Gabrielle back for a second spin with the Pats coming. That trade has the potential to pay off huge dividends for the Pats. However, the question remains about adding to the blueline. Let's see what Monday brings!
--Is anyone buying the story out of New England about the "rift" between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. I'm not a Patriots fan, but I'm not. You can have as successful as a run as the Patriots have had and not butt heads a time or two. The get-back for Jimmy Garappolo was certainly not what I or many expected it to be, but I don't think the Patriots were ordered to trade the quarterback because Brady was feeling threatened. For what its worth, I think if the Patriots win this year's Super Bowl, both Brady and Belichick ride into the sunset.
--Wedges or no wedges, guys if TSN's Natasha Staniszewski comes knocking at your door to watch football, are you really going to turn her away and say no thanks! CMON!! What an ad that is! By the way, kudos to CTV Regina for bringing back that ancient Western Pizza ad during the NFL playoffs.
--Speaking of the NFL playoffs, what a bizarre weekend it was. I went three for four on the weekend and I probably in hindsight should not have taken Kansas City. I forgot about Andy Reid's playoff coaching, My bad! Up 21-3 at the half and the league's leading rusher in your backfield, I would think you would give Kareem Hunt the ball ad nauseum in the 2nd half especially with your best receiver Travis Kelce on the sidelines with a concussion. Nope! KC allowed Tennessee to come back and beat them because of their own stupidity on offense ---and a little luck from Marcus Mariota.
The Buffalo-Jacksonville game was bad! It was beyond bad! The best quarterback in the stadium was Tony Romo and he was in the broadcast booth!
I didn't think the Rams would beat Atlanta as first-time jitters would get to them, and I was right. That Rams team looked nothing like the squad they had in the regular season on offence. Most teams have to go through that, it is how they rebound.
Drew Brees reminded everyone he isn't done. 376 yards and a pair of touchdowns as New Orleans hung on to beat Carolina in a game that was closer than it really was. I don't know why Sean Payton would gamble on 4th and 2 up 5 late in the game when he could have punted and given Carolina a longer field with no time-outs, but the gamble worked.
--I will still be amazed if Johnny Manziel takes a snap in a CFL football game.
--Congratulations to Sherry Anderson. There is still some fight in the 53 year old as her Saskatoon rink won the provincial Viterra Scotties. It means Anderson is now the provincial womens and senior womens champ. She is also the Canadian senior womens champ and will play in the Worlds later this year. Not bad! In a province where a lot of good young teams are starting to emerge, Anderson still proved the oldtimers can get it done.
That's all I got. Have a great week!