Friday, March 23, 2018
This and That
Welcome to Friday. Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.
--Its playoff time! Safe to say I will be either glued to my TV watching Access 7 or listening to Phil Andrews as the Pats and Broncos go at it in what should be one helluva matchup starting in Swift Current tonight. If these teams even come close to giving us what they gave us last Friday at the Brandt Centre, you'll want to throw away the remote. It will be a "ring-a-ding-dong dandy". I said a long time ago that I liked Swift Current to win the Eastern Conference. I can't go back on that prediction now. My heart wants the Pats to win, but my head says Swift Current. If my heart wins this series, I won't be crestfallen. At the end of the day, I see Portland playing the Broncos in the league final. A lot needs to happen for both teams to get there.
--Saskatoon wants a new arena. They say the 30 year old Sasktel Centre is at the end of its useful life. Is that the age-limit on buildings now seeing the Saddledome is also around that age? While the Brandt Centre certainly doesn't have the amenities that the newer rinks have, is it at the end of its useful stage?
One wonders if we would even be talking about this had Saskatoon done the smart thing many years ago and put then Saskatchewan Place downtown like it should have instead of screwing it up. I think we know the answer to that question. How will the building, which is pegged at 330-375 million when you add in a desired convention centre be funded? The times are a little different now than they were when the shovel went into ground for Mosaic Stadium 2.0. Does Saskatoon use some of the same template used when it came to who pays for what with Mosaic. Do they use their own template?
Saskatoon doesn't need a new rink if you ask me.....it just needs to have the existing one in a better spot. That won't happen so a new facility will likely get built. The mistake of many years ago is now coming back to hit Saskatoon in the wallet.
--There is no doubt Gerard Gallant is coach of the year in the NHL for what he has done with the Vegas Golden Knights but how much consideration should Yorkton's Jared Bednar get for what he has done in year 2 with the Avalanche. Speaking of the Avs, my vote for Hart Trophy goes to Nathan McKinnon if Colorado hangs on to make the playoffs. As for the Connor McDavid-Hart Trophy talk---NOPE! I don't care if you lead the league in scoring again, if you are a player on a team that does not make the playoffs, you don't deserve the MVP honour. Sorry!
--Ilya Kovalchuk says he wants to come back to the NHL. Does the NHL really want Kovalchuk back though? I am guessing some team would pay whatever he wants to come back to North America, but his best before date has long passed. I would just say thanks, but no thanks to Ilya.
--TSN asked this question this week. "If the Leafs are the lone remaining team in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will Canada cheer for them?" NO!!!! You can if you want, but I won't be and why would I even consider it. I wouldn't cheer for the Flames if they were the last Canadian team standing being an Oilers fan. A Toronto-Calgary Stanley Cup would be nightmarish for this blogger. I can live with a Grey Cup between those two cities, but not a Stanley Cup. Why is there a thought process that we have to latch onto a Canadian team in the playoffs? Montreal fans wouldn't cheer for Toronto and vice-versa, The same could be said for Edmonton and Calgary and everyone hates the Canucks still don't they?
--Will the play of the Winnipeg Jets have an effect on CFL Week? Will the event move the needle in Winnipeg with the way the Jets are playing the way it did in Regina last year. For the league's sake, I hope it does. They are excited about what the spring could bring when it comes to the Jets and they should be. At what cost though. I am thinking very few are thinking about the Bombers at this time, You can't blame the CFL for this as they have no idea what is going to be happening in the NHL with the Canadian teams. If hindsight was 20-20, they may have wanted to put it in Calgary or Edmonton this year seeing many are checking out from the Flames and Oilers-----and for good reason.
CFL Week is a great idea and it is something that Christina Litz and others in the CFL office should be commended for. As we saw in Regina last year, it is a great way for fans to get up close and personal with the stars of the game with many other CFL-designed events happening to get fans ready for the season. If the Jets should overshadow this year's event, I hope the league doesn't decide to re-visit the idea. It needs to continue, and yes at some point it will have to go one of the big three cities where an attempt will have to be made to make it as big as possible.
--Congrats to Scott Flory for going to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Will the Regina native who played at the U of S and now coaches them want Sparky's to cater the meal at the induction dinner? Scott loves his Sparky's. Can't really blame him!
--The CFL is talking about improving player safety. The rules committee is proposing several changes aimed at that. I understand what is being done, but saying something and actually acting on it is another. Other leagues talk about player safety, but when push comes to shove player safety gets pushed aside. What is good is the fact illegal contact on a receiver is no longer going to be challenged. There should be no more fishing expeditions now by a head coach who is searching for some illegal contact way away from the play.
--A lot of people are putting out their power rankings in this dead time for the CFL. I just go "MEH" to all of it. Let's talk about this some more once the draft is held and training camps are ready to get rolling.
--Jason Priestley (aka Brandon Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210) is coming to Regina for FanFest. Is he bringing Kelly Taylor with him? If that happens, I'll see ya there!
--When I spoke with Steve Laycock and Kirk Muyres after the Brier, they didn't give me a definite "we'll be back" statement which made me wonder if the most successful team we have seen in the 306 for the past little while would be back. They confirmed they wouldn't be on Wednesday night, I don't know what the plans for the four who thrilled the Brandt Centre crowd at the Brier, but if Kirk his brother Dallan and perhaps either Pat Simmons or Catlin Schneider joined Braeden Moskowy to form a Sasky super-team, I wouldn't be upset. Moskowy told me the other night he would love to be the guy who ends the Saskatchewan Brier drought. This would be a good start. Moskowy also said the cost for a team each winter is around 150,000 dollars as they travel to event after event after event. Someone or some consortium of companies can surely step up to help make this happen.
-I am a WWE fan. Always have been, always will. The Matt Hardy-Bray Wyatt "Ultimate Deletion" match was one of the stupidest things I have seen. It was one or two levels above dumb! Anytime Matt Hardy comes on, I reach for the remote. His schtick does absolutely zero for me. With Wyatt being dumped into "The Lake of Reincarnation", I am guessing we will see a reboot for Wyatt since his character has gone nowhere.
--I don't know who is winning March Madness and frankly I don't care. I don't think anyone had the tournament going this way with one top seed after another going down. It's been fantastic! GO MICHIGAN or Mitchigan as I prefer to call them
Have a great weekend!