Welcome to Friday. Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.
--The final weekend of the WHL regular season is upon us. It looks as if the Pats and Broncos will meet one another in the first round with Moose Jaw playing Prince Albert. Make your bets! Hey, I would love to see the Pats get back to the Eastern Conference final if not the league final, but I took Swift Current to do that. I can't change my bet now----or can I? I'll have to see how the Pats stack up against the Broncos this weekend in a home-and-home finale. Who knows, Regina could be off to Medicine Hat and the Broncos could get Brandon if the Wheat Kings and Swift sweep their respective finales. The bottom line is Saskatchewan hockey fans are in for a treat over the next couple of weeks. Can't wait!
--I am still in awe over the fact 2400 people crammed into the CKHS (The White House) to watch the Cougar ladies basketball team battle the Huskies in a national semi-final last weekend. While Sportsnet was there to show it to the country, you had to be in "The White House" to truly see what it was all about and experience it. On Monday, I had someone ask me how many people you could have gotten had they played that game at the Brandt Centre. The truth is they might have had an extra 500 or so people but that's about it.
Basketball is getting bigger and bigger in this province. The two University programs are fed by great high school programs both men's and women's which are fed by RCBA in Regina and some kind of developmental program in Saskatoon. Wouldn't it be great if somehow Saskatoon and Regina could get together and lure the Raptors to our fair province for a pair of exhibition games with the Huskies and Cougars playing a men's game at one place and a women's game at the others.
--Regina had a successful Brier. It might have even been better had we not had 30 centimeters of snow dumped on us and a University women's basketball championship going on. Many couldn't get to a day or two because of highway conditions or the fact they were stuck on their street, but a solid crowd turned out for the event. What's next?
Moose Jaw is a perfect venue for the Scotties and Swift Current is a nice place for the Worlds. I'll just throw this idea out there---the 2021 Olympic Curling Trials. What better place to have it than the Brandt Centre and Evraz Place. You don't really have to change the template do you?
--A lot of people were gushing over Brad Gushue and the way he handled himself during the Brier. This just in---he did the same thing at the Grand Slam of Curling in September. This blogger was looking to do an interview with Gushue, but couldn't find him. When I did find him, he was apologetic saying he had to get up to where physio was happening. He then asked how long it would take and said if he was late, it wasn't the end of the world. A 5 minute interview was about 12 and he was as gracious as could be.
The same could be said for many other curlers. Most of them have no problem promoting themselves and the sport they play. There are many others who could take a lesson from the likes of Gushue, Braeden Moskowy, Kirk Muyres, Kaitlyn Lawes and Michelle Englot. They don't give scripted answers, and they aren't afraid of a microphone.
--As the NHL and NBA seasons wind down, that word of "tanking" is once again starting to rear its ugly head---especially in the NBA where their boss has apparently had to have a talk with some teams about the lineup they are fielding. Everyone has an idea about how to solve tanking. Here's mine. In the NHL, you have 31 teams--16 who make it and 15 who don't. The 15 each get one lottery ball. If that means a team that just barely missed the playoffs the number one pick so be it. The same goes for the NBA
--Mark me down as one who doesn't like the fact that the clocks have moved again meaning we are once again two hours back of the Eastern Time Zone. I'm not big on NHL and MLB games starting at 5 and weekend NHL games starting at 10:30. Some love it, others don't which I understand. Put me down in the "I don't like it" category.
--Two members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders were in violation of the league's drug policy as the 2017 wound down. Does this team not talk to anyone about the policy or were Bruce Campbell and Marcus Thigpen of the belief they wouldn't be asked to take a test? I am guessing it is more of the latter. Perhaps it is time for Randy Ambrosie to step in and send a message.
Teams might be a little more proactive on what is going on and better educate their players if they were given a stiff fine should one of their players test positive for a banned substance. That probably isn't fair to the teams as they have no control of what a player does---nor should they---when they walk out of the stadium, but it would send a strong message
. Some are asking if the two game suspension for a first violation is strong enough. It is better than the old policy where the first violation was a warning---something that attributed to basically a slap on the wrist. By the way, the Riders aren't the only team with someone who has violated the policy (right Calgary?) so don't go saying this is a Chris Jones thing. It's not!
--The Baltimore Orioles are doing something many teams should do. The Orioles are starting a program called Kids Cheer Free in which parents can bring children age 9 and younger to games for free.Every parent who buys a regularly priced upper-deck seat can get two free tickets in the upper deck for their kids. This is how you keep the younger demographic engaged in the game. Good on the Orioles. Here's hoping others follow suit no matter if its baseball, hockey, basketball or football.
--Whatever happened to Charlie Sheen?
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!