Friday, September 21, 2018
This and That
--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.
--Is it really time to start a new WHL season? Weren't we just at the Brandt Centre for the Mastercard Memorial Cup a couple of weeks ago? Where did the time go? Yes, it is time for the puck to drop on a new season, and it won't be what Regina hockey fans got used to over the last couple of years. There are many who believe this team won't even be close to a playoff spot in the post-Memorial Cup run. I don't know if Regina is a playoff team or not, but I think they will be right there.
Brandon and Prince Albert are the class of the division. For Prince Albert, they might finally get to see a long playoff run and that would be great for that community. They were arguably the best team in the division at the end of last season. They took a Moose Jaw team right to the limit in the first round and gave us signs of the future. The Wheat Kings are the Wheat Kings. They just continue to move on in methodical fashion being a team you can never discount. The Blades have a good goalie and some solid forwards, but their blueline could be an achilles heel for them.
At the end of the day, I see the Pats being like the Blades last year. They will be battling for 3rd and a wild-card spot when the trade deadline hits. Players like Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn will likely be traded at the deadline as Regina starts to rebuild assets and picks given away in the Memorial Cup run. It will then be up to Dave Struch's crew to sink or swim. Last year, the trades the Blades made resulted in them sinking. That could happen to Regina this year. One thing I do know is that under Dave Struch this team will work. The philosophy doesn't change with him behind the bench calling the shots.
It won't be what we got used to at the Brandt Centre for the last couple of years, but I still think there will be some good nights spent under the Orangetop.
--Saskatoon is the place to be this weekend as the province's four football teams battle one another. It all starts tonight when the Rams and Huskies meet for the first time this year Both teams are 2-1 going in. This should be a ring-a-ding-dong dandy. That will be followed up on Saturday with the Thunder meeting a Hilltops team that is crushing their opponents. Can the Toppers be stopped? I am sure Scott McAulay and the Thunder coaching staff have a few things up their sleeve hoping they can be. All in all, it is going to be another weekend where Saskatchewan football is showcased.
--Oh yeah, the Riders! After laying an egg against Ottawa, its time to get back on the field as they are in Toronto to take on an Argos team that might be the biggest disappointment in the CFL this year. I am thinking the Argos aren't in the state they are if Ricky Ray is healthy, but I did not see this coming from them after winning the Grey Cup. To say the Riders will be a little hot under the collar when they take the field would be an understatement. The defence was not good against Ottawa and the offence took its fair share of the heat. However, the heat on Zach Collaros is a little confusing. I won't sit here and say Collaros played great against the Redblacks this week because he didn't. He knows that and knew it when we spoke to him right after the game. Collaros didn't help himself with an interception at the one yard line, but his receivers didn't help him and either did the o-line. It was a bad night all around for that side of the ball.
--What role will Duron Carter play in this game? You know he will be talkin'. Will the Riders ignore him? Can they? If he was such a troublemaker in the room, will someone want to get a shot in on him. I am guessing DC will either get or be the reason for a 15 yard penalty or two. I am guessing Chris Jones will be preaching the word discipline, but if Carter does get smoked, I hope the camera is on Jones to get his reaction.
The Toronto game starts the final 3rd of the season. Games on the road against Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary and home games against the Lions and Eskimos. What will their record be in that final 6? 3-3, 4-2, 5-1? I still say the game against Edmonton will determine whether or not a home playoff game is happening. Despite "stubbing their toe" last week, this team is still one that can make some noise in the playoffs. Yes, some more touchdowns are needed, but unlike many, I've got confidence in Collaros.
--Week 3 NFL Lock of the Week --- Eagles over Colts
Week 3 NFL Upset of the Week -- Saints over Falcons
--Where were you when the Baker Mayfield era started? One can only imagine how Cleveland football fans are feeling this morning! Imagine Rider Nation if it had been 600 plus days between wins!
--If in a hockey draft, Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby are definitely the first two players picked. Who are 3, 4 and 5?
--The season hasn't even started yet and the John Tavares love-in is in full bloom with the Auston Matthews one going at full speed too. If the Leafs soil the sheets this year, it could be a long year for that team. It won't happen, but one might suggest if the team wants to have some peace that the networks need to back off a few steps.
--Sportsnet's Arash Madani suggested on Thursday that John Gibbons will some day go up on the Blue Jays ring of excellence. How can a manager who will likely have a career record of under 500 get that distinction? Yes, he was on the bench for the best two years the club has had since the World Series days, but he never got to the World Series. I can't buy what Arash is trying to sell.
--"WKRP in Cincinnati" made its debut on TV 40 years ago this week. There hasn't been a better show in my mind. The "I thought Turkeys could fly" episode is the funniest half hour of TV I have ever seen. They just don't make TV shows like that anymore!
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!!