I'll get to the Stanley Cup playoffs in a second. I am happy today because I know that once again the Cup will not reside in either Calgary or Toronto but first I gotta talk about this. Rider fans are getting an opportunity to select the all-century team. Details of the initiative were announced Monday as the 2010 Kidsport Rider calendar was unveiled. The 2010 calendar, to be released in the fall, will feature an all-century team. Fans are being asked to choose that team as part of an online poll.
Fans can visit http://www.mysask.ca/ and vote in the following categories during prescribed time periods: Top offensive lineman (until Wednesday), defensive lineman (April 30 to May 3), special-teams player (May 4-6), receiver (May 7-10), defensive back/linebacker combined (May 11-13), versatile player/coach (May 14-17), safety/cornerback combined (May 18-20), halfback (May 21-24), head coach (May 25-27), top team (May 28-31), quarterback (June 1-3) and fullback/running back (June 4-7). I'll give you my picks later today.
Those that know me know I detest the Calgary Flames. Never have liked them, never will. Most of that stems from the fact that my NHL allegiances strongly lie with the team that resides about 2 1/2 hours north of Calgary. Needless to say then I was not disappointed to see the Flames exit the Stanley Cup dance at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago took it to Calgary right from the start and after two quick goals, they had an easy time of it eliminating the Flames in 6 with a 4-1 win. Not having Dion Phaneuf certainly didn't help Calgary but they really needed a better effort from Miikka Kiprusoff in this series--especially in the last two games. I now wonder if this ends the Mike Keenan era in Calgary. Something just seems to tell me Keenan will not be behind the bench when the 2009-2010 season starts. I don't have any real reason for that---lets just say my spidey senses are tingling.
As for Chicago, how can you not like the way these guys play. I don't think they can get to the finals this year but one would have to think they could get there next year and maybe win it. Jonathan Toews has become one of my favourite players and with guys like Kane, Sharp, Seabrook, Barker and Keith around him, one has to believe bigger and better things are in store for this franchise. In fact, I think they will win the Cup within the next 5 years.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks can enjoy that Presidents Trophy flag. Has there been a bigger disappointment over the past five years than this group? Once again the Sharks lay a collective playoff egg as they are beaten in six games by Anaheim meaning the best team in the NHL during the regular season is now a spectator.
I don't know why this team pulls the chute in the playoffs but this is a team that for the past five years have been considered a Stanley Cup favourite. Todd McLellan has now found out what Ron Wilson found out for the last three years and that is his team is not made for the playoffs. I thought the Sharks were good enough last year to get to and possibly win the Cup but after what happened last year I wasn't buying what they were doing this year and I end up being right.
I told you Anaheim would win this series because I just knew Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would disappear for a good portion of this matchup and they did. Both were great in Game 5 to keep the series alive but Thornton was pre-occupied with having a fight with Ryan Getzlaf at the start of the game and then loafed his way through the rest of it while Marleau was once again a spectator. GM Doug Wilson has to seriously consider moving these two guys who are quickly becoming the posterchilds of post-season failure. This means round 2 in the West will have Anaheim against Detroit and the Hawks taking on Vancouver.
The WHL is not getting its dream final. The Kelowna Rockets trailed Vancouver 4-2 with less than 5 minutes to play in Game 6. It looked like a 7th game would be needed but the Rockets get goals from Jamie Benn and Cody Almond at 1555 and 1628 to send the game into overtime. Kelowna completes the comeback when Mikael Backlund tips one past Tyson Sexsmith for a hat-trick and more importantly a 5-4 win and a date against the Calgary Hitmen in the final. Can Kelowna do what Edmonton, Lethbridge and Brandon could not do and that is take at least one game? As you know, Calgary goes in having not lost a playoff game this year. The Rockets will likely go in without top defenceman Tyler Myers. He ran former Pats blueliner Craig Schira from behind in the 3rd leaving Schira with a nasty cut.
Do you remember the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago when Boise State beat Oklahoma in what might be one of the greatest football games I have ever seen. Well, the quarterback of that Boise State team is now in the CFL. The Eskimos signing Jared Zabransky to a contract. I'm guessing he won't be taking Ricky Ray's job anytime soon but maybe he can be a clipboard holder in year one. Did you know he is an EA Sports cover boy as he was on the NCAA Football 08 cover.
Here's a factoid for you. Did you know that since Cito Gaston took over again as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays that the Jays have the best record in the majors. Since June 2oth of last year, Toronto is 65-44. That 44th loss came at the hands of Kansas City last night. A lot of people are starting to pay attention to what is happening in Toronto. I still want to see how they handle themselves against division rivals Boston, Tampa and New York before I see if this team can make a playoff run. Of course with the way Toronto is hitting the ball they might want to see that abysmal Yankees pitching staff very soon.
I won't talk a lot of NBA on this blog because I know there is very little interest but one can't help but notice the score in last nite's playoff game between Denver and New Orleans. The Nuggets beat the Hornets in New Orleans by a score of 121-63. The 58 point beatdown ties the record for the largest margin of victory in NBA playoff history. The last time it happened was in 1973. It was so bad that the two teams played in front of what virtually was an empty arena in the final quarter as many went home. Getting beat by 58 at home----that's nasty!!!!
I saw something yesterday that I wish I could see more of. While driving back home yesterday, there were a group of kids playing street hockey. Is it just me or is street hockey dying. Kids are more pre-occupied with getting home today to get on their X-Box or their PS 3. They want to text or do whatever but they don't seemingly want to play street hockey anymore. When we were growing up, we know that we played until either the sun went down or Mom called us in. I don't see that anymore which is sad. Needless to say it was refreshing to see this group of kids going at it. Here's hoping I can see more of it.
Thanks for checking out the blog. Have a good Tuesday!!