Monday, May 27, 2013

Something To "Mitch" About

The Halifax Mooseheads are the 2013 Memorial Cup champions in what was absolutely a fantastic finish to the week as they beat the Portland Winterhawks 6-4 in a game for the ages. It was simply a fascinating game and it was one they should put in a time capsule as this is the way the game is to be played. The top three picks in the NHL draft were all on display and Nathan McKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones all had their moments as did several other star players on both teams to make the final one to remember.
After being maligned by much of the country all week, the people of Saskatoon even came through in the crunch as 11 and a half thousand people came to see the culmination of the week-long event and I'm guessing they didn't go away disappointed.
Someone else that didn't go away disappointed are whoever was representing the Colorado Avalanche at the game yesterday. Both Jones and McKinnon made some plays that showed why they are worthy of being the number one selection at the NHL draft and Drouin may have had the quietest five assists I've ever seen in a game. It won't be easy to make that final decision, but in the end as someone in NHL circles told me, it has to be Jones or Colorado will be like my Oilers---all forwards, no defence, I don't disagree. You may remember I was the guy saying the Oilers should have taken Ryan Murray over Nail Yakupov last year.
Two things struck me at Credit Union Centre in the final   1) After getting maligned by the country, Saskatoon came through in the final by throwing 12-thousand people in the rink. Apparently, ticket prices were slashed throughout the rink for the final, but the people came for a game and made it look good so good on ya Saskatoon. I think---well I should say I know the league was very disappointed with the crowd turnout seeing a rather high ranking official told me, but they were happy yesterday. Lets end that talk now.
Listening to the Sportscage on Friday, the question was asked "How do you change the format of the tournament?". As soon as I pulled in the driveway, I texted RP up in Saskatoon with three words "Expand the Tournament". In this day and age where events are being expanded, I say expand the Memorial Cup to be a 6 or 7 team tournament that involves either A) The two league finalists and the home team to make it 7 or B) the league finalists, the league champ of the host league and the host team. Play two games a day which I'm sure TV would adopt and away you go. I've been on that soapbox for a while.
CTV Saskatoon's Kevin Waugh = CTV Regina's Don Hewitt. Both are just fantastic individuals and its great chatting with both of them. Every city needs guys like Waugh and Hewitt in their sports media community.
Its something that always makes me laugh and I saw it not 30 seconds into walking into CUC yesterday. The passion the Rider fan has is second to none----we all know that. I love that passion and the way people show it. However, when I go to a football game, I don't wear a Habs, Leafs, Bruins, Pats, Warriors jersey.  So please when going to a hockey game, don't wear the Rider green. I know that it is our "unofficial" tuxedo, but I just think it looks dumb. Then again, this cowboy will go to UFC 161 proudly wearing his Rider jersey, but that's just to rile up them Manitobans that will be there. As I said, I love the passion, but sometimes I think it goes a little over the top.
Speaking of jerseys, I couldn't count how many different jerseys I saw in the building. I saw a lot of WHL unis along with that of other junior hockey teams across the country. It was so Canadiana to see the patchwork in the stands. Still on the jersey topic, I was surprised to see in a WHL venue that Halifax was the crowd favourite until I saw the amount of Moosehead supporters in the stands. How much of Halifax came to Saskatoon this week? They had a lot of support.

Are the Mooseheads named after the brewery? That's a legit question. I don't know!
While Sunday was great, I loved Saturday night....

WWE diva AJ Lee and the rest of the "Smackdown" crew came rolling through the Brandt Centre and oh yeah, I was at ringside. Hey, if I am going to talk smack to the local guys, you know I am going to talk smack to the big guns. I don't think up and coming wrestler Curt Hawkins was too impressed with me though as we jawed back and forth after he had lost his match.  Saskatchewan's self proclaimed sexiest blogger also thought he was going to get under the skin of some performers and while he tried with one of the divas, he was quickly told by the lovely girl that he had her mistaken with someone else which got the crowd all over him with a chant of you "You got owned". LOVE IT!!  It was disappointing that some of the bigger Smackdown names like Dolph Ziggler, the Big Show and Jack Swagger, but it was a great night as always watching wrasslin.

Speaking of the UFC, they held another event on Saturday night. After the wrestling was over, it was time to throw back a few cold ones and watch some action inside the octagon. It had to have happened in one of the first matches, but the ring looked like a crime scene with all the blood that had been spilled. I noticed that while watching one of the prelim fights on Sportsnet before leaving for WWE. I don't know what match it happened in or how badly the fighter(s) in question were cut, but I don' t think I've ever seen a ring look so blood-stained and there were some big stains.

I've said it before on this blog and I'll say it again now. It is only a matter of time until Graham DeLaet wins an event on the PGA Tour. DeLaet was right there and got a lot of TV time on Saturday, but he failed at the end as he struggled mightily in the last 18. It was still a solid performance for the Weyburn native and he will be a winner on Tour very soon.

Thumbs up to the Saskatchewan Hockey Association for being the only one to vote against a bodychecking ban in peewee. I know hockey wants to take headshots out of the game, but it will never happen. There are even concussions in womens hockey. Until the size and the hardness of the equipment is reduced, the problem won't go away. Hockey Canada won't tell equipment manufacturers to do this though so it won't change no matter what you do. What's next---spongepucks? It wouldn't surprise me.  Not being introduced to hitting until the age of 13 is not right. It is going to result in some serious consequences.

Sportsnet's (and Sportscage's) Arash Madani has the interview of the year so far. Check this out...

This blogger went with a Chicago-Boston Stanley Cup final and I still say it happens although I readily admit that the ground underneath me isn't that solid when making that statement.

I almost forgot. A tremendous move by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to name the media center after their legendary play-by-play guy Bob Irving. There aren't many better individuals than "knuckles" out there and if you go to the Bombers website, you will see they caught him completely off guard when announcing it.

That's all I got. Have a great Monday!



Anonymous said...

Fantastic hockey game yesterday. The top three brought their "A" game and it showed.
Portland blew it in the first 10 minutes though as they didn't seem ready.
Halifax did bring a lot of people. I'd say at least 50 if not more.

Mike from Vita, MB said...

Having been away from Saskatoon for a number of years and then seeing Kevin Waugh on TV, I think it is time for him to retire. He reminds me of Lloyd Saunders in his last years on TV. Better to leave a year too early than a year too late

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon did come back, but the city has still shown that its not a sports city IMO.

McKinnon was the best player hands down. I would go with him #1, but does Colorado really lose seeing they will get a stud for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Yes Saskatoon responded,once ticket prices were slashed, most likely given away. For the most part I think attendance was acceptable for a city the size of Saskatoon. Attendance for a wannabe NHL city not even close.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mitch that the format kinda sucks. I also don't like the fact that a team could possibly have to play three games in three nights to get to the final or four in five. It often is merely a marathon as opposed to who is really the better team. After the loss of Leier the Winterhawks were never the same team. He was playing really well and would have made a huge difference to the club. In a seven game series with healthy teams I believe it would go seven and the winner would be a toss up. It sure exposes just how much the other pretenders in the WHL have to improve to get to the level of those clubs.

Anonymous said...

McKinnon is the sexier pick, but if you are looking long-term you take JOnes. Both players were simply magnificent yesterday as was Drouin, Frk, Rattie, Pouliot. etc. etc

Anonymous said...

How about this to change the format

1. Host Team
2. WHL Champ
3. OHL Champ
4. Quebec Champ
5. League that won Cup year before sends their runner-up.

I think a 6 or 7 team tourney takes too long.

Anonymous said...

The only time there is talk of changing the format is when a team goes out early in the playoffs like the Pats in 01 and the Blades this year. Just leave the tournament alone. Its fine now.


Anonymous said...

When the Mooseheads launched they were owned by the same group that held the brewery. They've since been sold to different owners, but they kept the name.

Anonymous said...

The Drew Remenda - Kevin Waugh battle a few years ago on round table was epic ! I bet Remenda never talks to Waugh again in this lifetime.