Monday, May 8, 2017

Something To "Mitch" About

Photo: Keith Hershmiller

IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS -  If you came to the Brandt Centre for Games 1 and 2 of the WHL Final or you watched it on Access and SHAW and said to yourself going in, the playoffs can't be any better than what we've seen.  I think you know your answer now.

Hockey fans in Regina and Western Canada were treated to two classics this weekend with both teams winning in overtime to send the series back to Kent, Washington even at one.

It has been fantastic hockey, and it is a series that likely will return to the Brandt Centre for a Game 6 and possibly a Game 7 as I can't see either team sweeping all three games at the ShoWare Center.

What strikes me about this Pats team in these playoffs is they find a way when they need to.  Down 3-1 in Game 6 to Swift Current, they found a way to win the game and extend the series.  Down 3-0 in Game 6 to Lethbridge, they found a way to win the game and prevent a Game 7 and once again on Saturday, they were down 3-1 and found a way.

At the midway mark of Game 2, the Pats had a meagre six shots on goal. SIX! A team that scored 353 goals in the regular season should be able to get six shots with their skateguards on most nights, but the T-Birds defence stymied the high-flying Pats and when they scored 3 goals in 56 seconds to take a 3-1 lead, I think its safe to say there were many in the crowd wondering just what the immediate future held.

Josh Mahura's late 2nd period goal gave the team some momentum, Filip Ahl's 3rd period goal got them back on even ground and then Mahura won it to rip the roof off the orange-top.

Speaking of ripping, I am guessing behind closed doors Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk had some words with Keegan Kolesar once Game 2 was over.  There is a time and a place, but Kolesar let his emotions get the best of him with his knee to Connor Hobbs.  He was lucky it wasn't a 5 and had it been the first period, it might have been which brings up that old debate.  The Pats will likely see if Kolesar can sit for a game or two after that. Why wouldn't they? If Regina wins this series, look back at that penalty as a big catalyst as to why they did.

Some fans think Yorkton product Tanner Ottenbreit should have sat Game 2 after his ferocious hit on Adam Brooks in Friday's opener.  I am not one of them.  Brooks got caught in the train tracks and he got run over by Ottenbreit in a hit that John Paddock very accurately said was a hit that got Scott Stevens into the Hall of Fame.  I've watched it several times, and I don't see anything wrong with it.   After seeing Brooks fight to get back into the lineup after being injured in the Swift Current series, I hope he's back before this series is over.  Like it was when he got hurt before, no one is saying anything thus the stories are flying.  I have heard he will back for Game 3.  I have heard he is done for the series and maybe longer.  I guess we will have to wait for Tuesday.

Bottom line---Tuesday night at 8.  Have your TV on Access or your radio on CKRM because you won't want to miss the latest in what has been a compelling and dramatic first two games.

WHAT IS GOALIE INTERFERENCE? -  That is the question many in the hockey world are asking after the Game 5 collapse by the Edmonton Oilers.  That doesn't go down in the "Miracle on Manchester" scale, but make no doubt about it, allowing 3 goals in the final 3 minutes of a Game 5 of a conference semi-final tied at 2 is a definite gag-job.  That simply can't happen.  However, the Oilers likely win the game if it weren't for Ryan Kesler's shenanigans that were ignored by both the officials on the ice and the NHL command centre,

 I don't know how you miss this, but inexplicably everyone did much to the amazement of many.  

Milan Lucic wants to know what goalie interference is because he doesn't know and I don't know if there is an answer. 

The Oilers are still choked over a goal in Game 4 where Corey Perry contacted Talbot, but I didn't think that was goalie interference.  This one was.  It made me wonder if Glen Johnson was in the NHL Command Centre,. Maybe it was Taylor Hall. 

It's an issue which has to be ironed out.  Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman said during Saturday's Pittsburgh-Washington game that every ref has a different interpretation of the rule.  It's like an umpire and the strike zone.  Do refs have to go to coaches before games and give them what their interpretation is? I don't think that is going to happen, but I see teams crashing the crease and doing things like what Kesler did in the hope the call won't get overturned.  I don't think the NHL wants that, but they have made their bed for the rest of the playoffs.

As for whether or not the bad call hurt them, I think the answer is no as they de-feathered the Ducks to a tune of 7-1, Game 7 is Wednesday.

UMMMMM -  So I just want to make sure I have this right.  Sidney Crosby suffers the 4th concussion of his career last Monday night, and there is concern about his career.  He misses Game 4 of the Washington series, but he takes part in full practice Friday and is back on the ice Saturday.  This is either a misdiagnosis which no one wants to admit, or is something that needs to be looked at.  Who gave the OK for Crosby to return? Is it the team? I am guessing they wouldn't jeopardize his career by saying he can go back on the ice when he isn't 100 percent, but when you have had four concussions, shouldn't you be held back for a bit longer before resuming play.  Something seems fishy here.

PREDS IN THE FINAL FOUR -  Once you get in the dance, you have just as good a shot at anyone. That can definitely be said for the Nashville Predators. The team that breezed past Chicago surprising everyone in Round 1 is now into Round 3 having disposed of St. Louis. There isn't a lot wrong with that team right now as Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne and Ryan Johansen have to be considered a legitimate threat to bring Lord Stanley to every honky-tonk going.

STAYING HOME - I can't even envision the roller coaster of emotions Rams receiver Mitch Picton went through on Sunday.  Slated to go somewhere in the late 2nd or early 3rd round of the CFL Draft. Picton. However 3 rounds passed by and Picton's name hadn't been called with some other receivers getting the call. After 4 rounds, his name still hadn't been called and I was wondering what the h-e double hockeysticks was going on. If I was wondering that, what must have been going through his mind.  The Riders then came to the rescue as they took Picton with the 37th overall pick in the 5th round.

I am guessing the phone call from the local team was everything that kid could want. Congratulations to both him and Rams team-mate Jeremy Zver who went in the 3rd round to BC. I imagine it will be quite the Monday for Picton as he walks around with a Rider hat on his head. Can you blame him?

He can come back to the Rams for one year as well with Chris Jones and company watching his every move.  It's a win-win for all.

As for the entire Riders draft, I love it.. Cameron Judge has the potential to be an impact player and getting Dariusz Bladek in the 2nd round is a steal.  Many including myself thought he was one of the best o-linemen at the combine if not the best.  Bladek is joined by three other offensive linemen as Jones looks to get younger in that area.

That's all I got. Have a fantastic week!


Anonymous said...

1) You're right. The hockey is as good as it can get at this level. It has everything. Can't wait for Tuesday

2) Kolesar's actions were far worse than Ottenbreit's. He should be given two after being suspended in the playoffs earlier

3) The Oilers-Ducks series should be and would be over if it weren't for one of the worst missed calls going. I'm a Habs fan, so I have no horse in the race either

4) Great draft by the Riders


Anonymous said...

Jones got booed at the Pats game. A distinct message from the regiment to this clown and the way he does things!

Anonymous said...

I think Jones would get booed in every rink in the province.

Anonymous said...

They're sure raising a stink about the Kesler non-call.

I say, "How in heck did the Oilers get themselves in that predicament?"

I don't understand how you can play such good hockey for 57 minutes and then stand around and watch for the final three minutes.

That series should be over and if the Ducks win the Oilers got themselves to blame.

Not one missed call.

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen one thing where Kesler is vindicated for what he did. The NHL screwed up badly.

Anonymous said...

To those thinking Ottenbreit's hit on Brooks was dirty, I ask you this.

Would you say the same thing if Hobbs leveled Barzal in similar fashion with the same result happening? I think this argument comes to an end.

Keep your head up kid!


Anonymous said...

Can't believe Riders got Bladek at 11. Some mocks had him at 2. Good job CJ!

peter dalla riva

Anonymous said...

Where did Judge come from? He wasn't at the combine and no one was talking about him till late this week. Really like what I see from him and hear about him.


Anonymous said...

Re: Bladek. Please share with us your process for evaluating O line prospects. That would be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't seeing a Picton to Picton combo for the Riders be grand!

Anonymous said...

Cameron Judge is not interested in playing for Jones - did you not listen to him.
He is like alot of players who are not interestd in playing for jones and will do anything to go elswhere.

Anonymous said...

Come on man, Picton will NEVER be a QB playing in the CFL.