Monday, April 30, 2018

U of R Cougars Eliminate Wrestling and Men's Volleyball Program

The University of Regina will go into the 2018-19 season with 13 teams instead of 16.

On Monday, it was announced the Cougar men's volleyball team and both the men's and women's wrestling teams are being removed from the athletics program.

“The decision was extremely difficult,” said Harold Riemer, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. “While our elite sports teams are a source of pride for the University, reducing the number of teams on campus enables us to concentrate efforts. We will look to meet the teaching and programming needs of a Faculty where enrolments have increased by 31 percent over the past five years and more effectively support competitive excellence within our remaining U SPORTS teams.”

Riemer added that “all savings realized will remain in the Faculty, enabling us to focus on the teaching and programming needs of a rapidly growing student population.”

Doing this was one of the recommendations in an Athletics Programming and Operations Report which was released in January of 2017.  That report stated supporting 16 programs was unsustainable and this will more closely align the number of teams to those at similar-sized institutions and better balancing the male to female athlete ratio on campus.

“We recognize that this is a difficult announcement for our student athletes. We are committed to supporting those athletes affected by this announcement by honouring scholarships and other accommodations made so long as the students remain in good academic standing at the University of Regina,” said Riemer. “Our students are our top priority throughout this transition.”

As a result of the team reductions, two full-time coaching positions are reduced and one term contract position will not be renewed.

April 30th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


Washington 4 Pittsburgh 1
Nashville 5 Winnipeg 4

Winnipeg tied the contest with 1:05 remaining in regulation, but Kevin Fiala scored at 5:37 of double overtime as the Predators won Game 2 and evened their Second Round series at 1-1. Fiala became the third player in franchise history to score the winning goal in a game that required multiple overtimes, joining Matt Halischuk (Game 2 of 2011 CSF at VAN) and Mike Fisher (Game 4 of 2016 SR vs. SJS).

* Fiala scored his second career overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (also Game 3 of 2017 FR vs. CHI) and became the first player in franchise history to score multiple overtime goals in the postseason. Elias notes that he became just the fourth player in the last 30 years (since 1988) to score two overtime goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before celebrating his 22nd birthday, joining Jaromir Jagr (w/ PIT), Alex Galchenyuk (w/ MTL) and Nikita Kucherov (w/ TBL).
* Pekka Rinne made 46 saves to establish a single-game career high in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, eclipsing the mark of 45 he set in Game 4 of the 2015 First Round at CHI. Only one goaltender in franchise history has recorded more saves in a postseason game: Dan Ellis in Game 5 of the 2008 Conference Quarterfinals at DET (52).

The Predators and Jets combined to score nine goals, the eighth contest of 9+ goals through just 50 games in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* With 14 goals scored across two contests on Sunday, the average goals per game rose to 6.02 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last postseason to conclude with a higher goals per game average was in 1996 (6.06).

Alex Ovechkin scored for the third consecutive contest (4-1—5) to help the Capitals win Game 2 and even their Second Round series at 1-1.

* Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one back of Jets forward Mark Scheifele (8) – who scored twice on Sunday – for the League lead. He boosted his career postseason totals to 14-15—29 in 22 games versus Pittsburgh (1.32 P/GP).

* Ovechkin scored his franchise-record 53rd career playoff goal to move into a tie with Bill Barber, Daniel Briere, Stephane Richer and Jeremy Roenick for 47th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Only three players have scored more goals in the postseason since Ovechkin made his League debut in 2005-06: Sidney Crosby (64), Evgeni Malkin (61) and Henrik Zetterberg (54).

The Bruins look to take a 2-0 lead in their series with the Lightning, while the Sharks and Golden Knights shift to San Jose with their series even at 1-1. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series own an all-time series record of 318-50 (86.4%), including a 71-20 mark when those victories occur on the road (78.0%).

Something To "Mitch" About

-- Before getting into the meat and potatoes of today's column, I just want to give a huge thank you to all of those involved with the Regina Red Sox for allowing me the opportunity to interview former Jays pitcher Todd Stottlemyre at their annual dinner on Saturday night.  Brendan McGuire and myself had the chance to grill him for about 45 minutes on a variety of topics including the famous World Series slide.  As for what happened, well let's just say the wind resistance on that Starter jacket and the fact that while Cito Gaston told players they could run on the arm of a weak Lenny Dykstra that strategy didn't apply to pitchers which Stottlemyre figured out as he rounded second on his way to third.

Stottlemyre was great. I'm sure we could have sat on stage for a long time talking baseball which I certainly would have been fine with. All in all it was a great night and thank you again to the Red Sox for once again having the opportunity.

--As training camp nears, Duron Carter is stirring it up, and stirring it up with his own fanbase!.  How about this tweet from #89 on Sunday.

Whaddaya think?  Is it time to scrap "Bring Em Out!!"?  Can we go a little further and scrap "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" too?  If you get rid of Bring Em Out, what do the Riders come out to?  The pyro will be there, but what will the music be!

--The CFL draft is Thursday.  I am certainly hoping a team does the right thing and calls Noah Picton's name. He deserves it.  The U of R quarterback has shown he can make the throws and can do what is needed.  His size and his birth certificate are the only things working against him.  If someone takes him and he does what I think he can do, it will be a wise investment.  While I don't know if Picton will go, I do know teammate Atlee Simon will have his phone ring somewhere most likely from the late 2nd to mid 4th round.  His game is getting better and he will be a key component for the Rams in his 5th and last season.  Both are quality individuals and deserve the opportunity to take their game to the next level.

--You knew it was going to happen and on Saturday night it did.  Goaltender interference reared its ugly head at a most inopportune time and while the debate is on as to whether it was or wasn't, one can't debate whether or not the disallowed goal by the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime could be a series-changer.

If Vegas is up 2-0 in the series they likely win the best-of-seven.  Now San Jose goes home for two and if they hold serve will be in firm control.

The Knights didn't seem too agitated by Jonathan Marchessault's goal being called off and it did appear as if contact was made, but Martin Jones was not in the blue ice when the contact was made. Does that make it interference? The debate continues and did with a couple of controversial calls that both went against Pittsburgh in Game 2 of that series.  I thought the call on both was the correct one and I have no horse in the race so there's no perceived bias on that one.

--As for Winnipeg/Nashville, it is everything you thought it was going to be and it may get better. Game 2 was good old-style hockey. You had to love that display.

--The Buffalo Sabres were the worst team in the NHL this past season and they will pick first as they won the NHL draft lottery.  Actually, the Carolina Hurricanes did as they moved up to 2nd knocking everyone down one.  That has caused some consternation. They say the Hurricanes shouldn't be allowed to move up that much. Why?  They only had a 3 percent chance of capitalizing and they did.  No rules were broken.  The NHL draft lottery gives ALL non-playoff teams a chance to win through the weighted system.  It's fair despite what some fan bases say because their team didn't benefit.  As I have said before, I would like to see all non-playoff teams get one ball and the draft order be determined that way. It would stop any team from tanking if they actually do that.  If it meant that the first non-playoff team won than so be it.

--After not having any NHL'ers at the Olympics, does the upcoming World Championships have more of an interest for you.  It does for me.  Yes, the best are still not there, but its better than what was offered up in Pyeongchang. I didn't watch the Olympics, but I will be watching this.  That being said, I'm not getting up at 3 AM or anything to tune in.

--Is the Toronto media going to make a big deal of Auston Matthews vs Mike Babcock all summer long. Early indications would be you betcha.  Does anyone really think either is going anywhere anytime soon.  Not a chance.  Matthews is the straw that stirs the drink and Babcock is the one making said drink. Matthews didn't play well in these playoffs. He learned a lesson.  Could he and should he be getting more ice time? The answer is probably yes as he should be up there with the Crosbys, Ovechkins and McDavids of the world.  In the playoffs, you need to produce and he didn't so Babcock looked for someone who could.  The last I saw, Babcock's resume is a stellar one.  The sooner that story goes away the better for all involved.

--Are the Raptors a championship team? I guess we'll find out soon as they get Lebron James and Cleveland in Round 2.  Despite their solid regular season, they still need to show some things and this would do it.

--The Seahawks drafted a punter in the 5th round of this weekend's draft. Who drafts a punter? Who drafts a punter when you have a pretty good one already?  The Seahawks do.  The selection of Michael Dickson may spell an end to Jon Ryan's career in Seattle blue.  The talk is his salary is now too much for the team and he will be a cap casualty before training camp starts .  Jon still has some kicks left in that leg.  Some hope he would come back to the CFL and kick for the green-and-white.  I don't see that happening anymore.  If it does great, but I think that ship has sailed.  Who's kidding who, his services will be welcomed by someone in the NFL.  That tour of the facilities is likely out though.  DAMN!

--Congrats to the Notre Dame Hounds for winning the Telus Cup.  If memory serves me right, they only lost two or three games total this season. That's a nice run!

--That's all I got. Have a great week!

What Did You Miss Sunday?

--Congrats to the Notre Dame Hounds.  They are the Canadian midget hockey champions for the 5th time.  They won the Telus Cup Sunday beating Magog, Quebec 5-1 in the final. Luke Mylymok had three for the winners.  The Hounds went through the Saskatchewan Midget Triple A playoffs, the West Regional and the Telus Cup without getting beat. 

--Kevin Fiala was the hero for the Nashville Predators.  His goal at 5:37 of the second overtime gave the Predators a 5-4 win over Winnipeg to even their Western Conference semi-final at one.  Mark Schiefele had tied it with his second of the game with a minute to play in regulation.  In the other game, Washington evened their series with Pittsburgh with a 4-1 win. 

--White City's Ryan Murray is heading to the World Hockey Championships. The Columbus defenceman has accepted an invite to play for Team Canada. The tournament starts later this week. 

--Duron Carter thinks its time to freshen things up.  This is what the colourful Rider receiver had to say on Twitter Sunday.

Carter spent his weekend in Moosomin as he appeared at a sportsman's dinner on Saturday after helping out with a high school  football practice and soaking in life in rural Saskatchewan. 

--The Toronto Raptors know who their 2nd round opponent in the NBA playoffs will be.  Lebron James had 45 as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Indiana 105-101 in Game 7 of their series.  The Raptors and Cavaliers will get things started at Air Canada Centre Tuesday. 

--The Chicago Cubs love facing the Milwaukee Brewers.

Not only did Sunday's 2-0 win help push the Cubs one game ahead of the Brew Crew in the NL Central standings, it helped them assert an unlikely form of dominance over their rivals in 2018:
The Cubs and Brewers faced off eight times in April with each team hosting a four-game set. The Cubs won seven of those contests and didn't allow a run in five. Altogether, the Cubs have outscored the Brewers 29-9.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


Boston 6 Tampa 2
San Jose 4 Vegas 3 (2OT) Logan Couture OTG


The trio of David Pastrnak (0-4—4), Brad Marchand (1-3—4) and Patrice Bergeron (2-1—3) combined for 11 points to power the Bruins to a Game 1 victory in Tampa.

* There have been 10 instances of a player recording at least four points in a game this postseason, with the Bruins accounting for five of those performances in eight games played (two apiece for Pastrnak and Marchand and one for Bergeron). Boston players combined for five such outings in the team’s previous 162 playoff games dating to 1994.

* Pastrnak leads the NHL with 5-12—17 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is the 13th different player in NHL history to record at least 17 points through his team’s first eight games of a postseason – and first since Mario Lemieux (7-12—19) with the Penguins in 1992.

* Only five players in franchise history have recorded more 4+ point games in the postseason than Pastrnak and Marchand: Rick Middleton (5x), Johnny Bucyk (4x), Phil Esposito (3x), Craig Janney (3x) and Barry Pederson (3x).

* Only Esposito (2 in 1969), Bucyk (2 in 1972), Middleton (2 in 1982 and 1983) and Pederson (2 in 1983) had multiple showings of 4+ points in a single postseason.


Logan Couture scored his second goal of the game at 5:13 of the second overtime to help the Sharks snap the Golden Knights’ five-game winning streak and draw even in their best-of-seven series.

 San Jose improved to 23-22 in 45 postseason overtime games, including a 4-4 record in contests that required multiple overtime periods. The Sharks are the second road team to capture a victory in double-overtime in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining the Capitals (Game 3 of the FR at CBJ).

* Brent Burns (2-1—3) collected an assist on Couture’s second career postseason overtime goal. Since joining the Sharks in 2011-12, Burns has accumulated three three-point performances in the playoffs, making him the only defenseman in franchise history to post three such outings and the only Sharks blueliner to collect a two-goal outing on multiple occassions (3x). In fact, he is the only NHL defenseman with more than one multi-goal game in the playoffs since 2012.

* San Jose overcame a multi-goal deficit to win a playoff game for the ninth time in franchise history, with the last such rally coming in Game 1 of their First Round series at Edmonton last year. There are four other instances this postseason of a team winning after facing a multi-goal deficit: Columbus and Pittsburgh each have two such wins.

* The Sharks found the back of the net four times in Saturday’s contest – including three goals in the second period – against a Golden Knights team that allowed only three goals against in its first five postseason games.


The Penguins and Jets look to take 2-0 leads in their respective series vs. the Capitals and Predators. Teams that take a 2-0 series lead on the road in a best-of-seven seris in the Stanley Cup Playoffs hold an all-time record of 71-20 (78.0%).

What Did You Miss on Saturday?

Media preview

--Logan Couture's power-play goal in the second overtime gave San Jose a 4-3 win over Vegas to even their NHL West semi-final at one.  The Knights thought they had won the game in the first overtime only to have a goal called back due to goaltender interference.   In Game 1 of the East final, Boston steamrolled to a 6-2 win over Tampa.

--The worst team in the NHL will have the first overall selection at the draft.  The Buffalo Sabres won the NHL draft lottery.  Carolina will pick 2nd followed by Montreal.

--The Swift Current Broncos will look to win the WHL East title Monday night and avoid a 3rd straight 7th game.  Giorgio Estephan had two goals and an assist for the winners.  Meanwhile, Everett could not win the Western Conference title on home ice as they were beaten 5-2 by Tri-Cities with Jusso Valimaki getting a pair.  Game 6 in that series goes Monday in Kennewick.

--The St. Albert Slash are Canada's midget women's hockey champs for the second straight year. They beat the Saskatoon Stars 2-1 in the final. The Stars had owned the week at the Esso Cup in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia going unbeaten until the final.  On Sunday in Sudbury, the Notre Dame Hounds will look to win the Telus Cup as they meet Magog, Quebec. The Hounds advanced with a 3-2 win over Toronto.

--A gold medal for Saskatoon's Sherry Anderson.  Her rink won the World Senior Women's Curling Championship in Sweden beating 5-4. At the World Mixed Doubles Championship, the Canadian team of Saskatoon's Kirk Muyres and Alberta's Laura Crocker won the bronze medal with a win over South Korea

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


Winnipeg 4 Nashville 1


Mark Scheifele scored twice and Connor Hellebuyck made 47 saves to help the Jets stifle the Predators in Game 1 of the first Second Round appearance in franchise history.

* Winnipeg earned a postseason victory in regulation despite being outshot 48-19, the largest negative shot differential in a win since the Flyers defeated the Capitals in Game 5 of the 2016 First Round, a game in which they were outshot 44-11. The Stanley Cup Playoffs record for the largest negative shot differential in a win is 37 – Chicago beat Boston in Game 3 of the 1975 Preliminary Round despite being outshot 56-19.

* Hellebuyck, who concluded Winnipeg’s First Round series against Minnesota with shutouts in Games 4 and 5, established a Jets/Thrashers franchise record for most saves in playoff game, eclipsing the mark of 37 set by Johan Hedberg in Game 2 of the 2007 Conference Quarterfinals vs. NYR and matched by Ondrej Pavelec in Game 2 of the 2015 First Round at ANA.

* Hellebuyck’s 47 save-performance on the road is the most by a goaltender in a regulation playoff victory since Craig Anderson recorded 48 saves in Game 1 of the 2013 Conference Quarterfinals.

* This is the second time in as many seasons where the team with the best record during the regular season faced off against the club with the second-best record (WSH vs. PIT, 2017 SR). There have been only three other such matchups in the last 30 years: DET vs. COL (1996 CF), NYR vs. NJD (1994 CF) and CGY vs. MTL (1989 F). 


The final series debut of the Second Round takes place on Saturday when the Lightning host the Bruins at AMALIE Arena in Tampa. The two teams battled for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference until the final game of the 2017-18 regular season, with Tampa Bay (54-23-5, 113 points) earning the top seed (BOS: 50-20-12, 112 points).

* The Lightning and Bruins are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time, with their lone other matchup occurring in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final. Tim Thomas stopped all 24 shots he faced and Nathan Horton scored the lone goal at 12:27 of the third period to lift Boston to a 1-0 victory in Game 7 at TD Garden. The Bruins then went on to capture their sixth and most recent Stanley Cup (4-3 W vs. VAN).

* Boston went 3-1-0 against Tampa Bay during the regular season (TBL: 1-3-0), with its lone loss coming in the season finale April 3 (4-0 L at TBL). Bruins defenseman Torey Krug paced all players with 1-5—6 in the season series.


The 2018 NHL Draft Lottery, which will determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, will be held on Saturday in Toronto.

* New this year, the results of picks 15 through 4 of the NHL Draft Lottery will be announced live during the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery show beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet, NBCSN, CBC, and TVA Sports. The remaining three picks will be revealed live on broadcast during the second intermission of the Golden Knights vs. Sharks game (8 p.m. ET, NBC, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports).

* Three drawings will be made on Saturday: the 1st Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting third overall.

(NHL Media)

What Did You Miss Friday?

--Connor Hellebuyck was the story for the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final vs Nashville.

Media preview

--The Winnipeg goalie stopped 47 of 48 shots as the Jets beat the Predators 4-1.  Mark Schiefele had two for the winners. That was the lone game on the NHL playoff trail.

--The three finalists for the Hart Trophy have been named by the NHL. Up for the MVP are New Jersey Devils left-winger Taylor Hall, Los Angeles Kings centre Anze Kopitar and Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon. All three had career seasons when it comes to points scored. 

-- Todd McLellan  is coming back to coach the Edmonton Oilers next season without assistants Ian Herbers and Jim Johnson. McLellan's future was up in the air after the Oilers missed the playoffs with a 36-40-6 record despite an M-V-P-calibre season from captain Connor McDavid. In three seasons with the Oilers, McLellan is 114-109-23.  Talk is heating up that one of his assistants could be former Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan.  

--The SJHL champion Nipawin Hawks opened the ANAVET Cup with a 4-3 win over the Steinbach Pistons.  The MJHL champs look to even it up on home ice tomorrow. 

--The Saskatoon Stars will play the St. Albert Slash for the Esso Cup in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia on Saturday. The Stars beat Lanaudiere, Quebec to advance to the final.  The Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA champs have gone through the event unbeaten.  

--Kyle Lowry had 24 as the Raptors beat Washington 102-92 to win their first round NBA playoff series in six games.  The Raptors will meet either Indiana or Cleveland in Round 2. Those teams meet Sunday in Gme 7 of that series.