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Mercedes Benz of Regina

Sunday, April 19, 2015


NHL:  A week after finishing one of their worst seasons in franchise history, optimism is back in Edmonton. The Oilers won the NHL Draft Lottery Saturday night and will select first overall at June's draft in Florida. Phenom Connor McDavid is projected to be the top pick. General manager Craig MacTavish says there is zero chance Edmonton trades the pick.


Jakob Silfverberg scored in the final minute of regulation as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Patrick Maroon also scored for the Ducks, who trailed heading into the third period.


Sidney Crosby is back. He scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the New York Rangers 4-3 in Game 2 playoff action. The win evens the Eastern Conference series at a game apiece. The Rangers were able to keep Crosby quiet in Game 1. His last playoff goal came in Game 3 last year in the Pens' second-round series against New York.


Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first career NHL playoff hat trick as the St. Louis Blues tied their series at one with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. And, Ben Bishop made 23 saves while Tyler Johnson scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. The win tied their series at a game apiece.


Ottawa has home-ice advantage as its first-round playoff series shifts back to the nation's capital. The Senators are down 2-0 against the Montreal Canadiens heading into Game 3. Ottawa coach Dave Cameron hasn't said yet whether Andrew Hammond or Craig Anderson will start in net. Hammond started the first two games of the series.


The Flames and Canucks renew rivalries tonight in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. Game 2 ended with a line brawl that produced 132 penalty minutes. The NHL fined Calgary head coach Bob Hartley 50-thousand dollars for the incident. The series is tied at a game apiece.


Elsewhere around the league, the Washington Capitals look to build on their Game 2 victory when they face the New York Islanders in Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum. In Chicago, the Blackhawks will start rookie Scott Darling in net when they host the Nashville Predators. That series is tied at one.


NBA:  Advantage Washington. The Wizards used overtime to beat the Toronto Raptors 93-86 in Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference quarter-final Saturday at Air Canada Centre. Paul Pierce scored 20 points to lead Washington. The Wizards outscored Toronto 11-4 in overtime to cement the victory. Amir Johnson had 18 points to lead the Raptors.


MLB:  Josh Donaldson's bat is heating up. He hit a walkoff home run Saturday afternoon as the Toronto Blue Jays came back to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in 10 innings. It was the Braves' first road loss of the year. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer in the eighth to erase a four-run deficit and take a brief lead. Former Blue Jay Kelly Johnson hit a home run in the ninth to force extra innings.

(Canadian Press)

Saturday, April 18, 2015


The Edmonton Oilers have won the NHL draft lottery for the fourth time in six seasons, only this time the prize is a franchise-changing talent.

The Oilers on Saturday night earned the right to pick Connor McDavid first overall at the draft this June in Sunrise, Fla.

McDavid is considered a once-in-a-generation talent like Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux and four-time Oilers Stanley Cup-winner Wayne Gretzky.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said on a conference call that there would be "zero'' chance of trading the top pick.

"Very dynamic player, open-ice game,'' MacTavish said of McDavid. "He's not only the most productive junior player but also the most dynamic.''

McDavid called it some of the most intense few minutes of his life as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed the teams that didn't win before finally showing the Oilers logo on a gold card to indicate the winner.

"That minute where they're picking out the cards, I think that's the fastest my heart's ever beated,'' McDavid said.

With their three previous top picks in five years, Edmonton selected Taylor Hall (2010), Nail Yakupov (2011) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2012).

The Oilers have not made the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2006, but McDavid could instantly make them into a post-season contender.


GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Arizona Coyotes announced today that the franchise now owns the third overall selection at the 2015 NHL Draft after this evening's NHL Draft lottery in Toronto. In addition to selecting third overall, the Coyotes own Chicago's first round draft choice as well as two draft choices in the second and third rounds and picks in the fifth and seventh round. The 2015 NHL Draft will take place at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 26 & 27.

"We are very pleased to own the No. 3 overall selection in this year's NHL Entry Draft," said Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. "This is a very talented, deep draft and with the third overall pick, General Manager Don Maloney and our hockey operations department will explore all of our team's options and make the best decision that adds a great player to our young, talented nucleus of players. We are looking forward to the Draft in Florida!"

This marks the second time in franchise history that the club has owned the third overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Coyotes drafted Kyle Turris third overall in the 2007 NHL Draft.

Other notable No. 3 picks selected in the NHL Draft since 1999 include Henrik Sedin (1999), Marian Gaborik (2000), Jay Bouwmeester (2002), Nathan Horton (2003), Jonathan Toews (2006), Matt Duchene (2009) and Alex Galchenyuk (2012).

After finishing in 29th place during the 2014-15 NHL season, the Coyotes owned a 66.5% chance of moving down a position and being awarded the third overall pick.


Photo courtesy WheatKings.com
Peter Quenneville's even strength goal at 6:15 of overtime was the winner Friday night in Brandon as the Wheat Kings beat the Regina Pats 3-2 to clinch the second round best-of-seven series in five games.

Brandon jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first period thanks to a Nolan Patrick shorthanded goal at 12:52.  Regina grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second period thanks to goals by Jake Leschyshyn and Taylor Cooper and they carried that lead into the third.  However Patrick struck again for Brandon - at 13:39 of the third - to tie the game at 2-2 and send it to overtime.

That set the stage for Quenneville to launch the Wheat Kings into the Eastern Conference Final, and end the Pats' season.  Brandon moves on to face the Calgary Hitmen, who eliminated Medicine Hat on Friday in the Saddledome.

Brandon outshot the Pats 51-27 and Regina goalie Daniel Wapple was named the game's #2 star with a 48 save effort.  Quenneville was named first star while Patrick got the nod for #3.

The Pats were 0/5 on the powerplay and 5/5 killing penalties.

The attendance at Westman Communications Group Place was 4333.

Congrats Regina on a fine 2014-15 season!



Emotions boiled over at the end of Vancouver's 4-1 Game 2 win over the Calgary Flames. A line brawl broke out late in the third period to finish out the game. Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins, Ronalds Kenins and Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks. Vancouver snapped a seven-game losing streak at home in the playoffs dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup final.  The series is tied 1-1.


Max Pacioretty entered back into the Montreal lineup and scored a goal as the Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime. Alex Galchenyuk had the winner 3:40 into extra time. The Habs lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal 2-0.


The Predators' Game 2 win may have come at a cost. Nashville lost captain Shea Weber to a lower-body injury nearly midway through the second period in its 6-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks. Craig Smith scored the first two playoff goals of his career in the win. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford gave up three goals in 2 minutes, 19 seconds in the third period.  The series is tied 1-1.


Good things happen when Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom play together. The two were reunited and combined for two Washington Capitals goals in their 4-3 Game 2 win over the New York Islanders. Jason Chimera netted the go-ahead goal with 12-and-a-half minutes left. The series is tied at a game apiece.


Two-time Stanley Cup champion Jarret Stoll has been arrested. The Los Angeles Kings forward was suspected for cocaine possession in Las Vegas. The Kings issued a statement, saying they're concerned and will be conducting an internal investigation. Stoll is the boyfriend of Erin Andrews, the "Dancing with the Stars'' co-host and Fox Sports reporter.


One of the most physical series in the playoffs continues tonight when the Winnipeg Jets face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of their first round Western Conference quarter-final. Anaheim holds a 1-0 series lead after a 4-2 win in Game 1. Jets forward Mathieu Perreault took part in the optional skate (Friday) after missing the opener with a lower-body injury. His status for tonight's game is uncertain.


Elsewhere, the Detroit Red Wings will look to extend their series lead when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2. And the St. Louis Blues will try to rebound from a Game 1 loss against the Minnesota Wild. Both games are matinee starts. Later, the New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York has a 1-0 series lead.


The Raptors welcome the Washington Wizards when they open the NBA playoffs at Air Canada Centre this afternoon. Toronto won all three regular-season games against the Wizards this year. The Raps are the Atlantic Division champions and finished the regular season with a franchise-high 49 wins.


Even five home runs weren't enough for the Blue Jays. Russell Martin broke out of a slump and Josh Donaldson hit his first two home runs with Toronto but the Jays fell 8-7 to the Atlanta Braves. Reliever Brett Cecil gave up two home runs in the eighth inning including a two-run shot to Freddie Freeman. The three-game set continues Saturday afternoon.

(CP/Getty Images)

Friday, April 17, 2015


620 CKRM's Mitchell Blair will be taking over the Friday morning column with a weekly This 'N That rant.  Here goes the first installment:

--The Regina Pats need a win Friday in Brandon to force a Game 6 at the Brandt Centre Sunday. One would realistically think this series is over and we have seen the last of the Pats until training camp, but John Paddock's proteges won't quit and it wouldn't surprise me if I am watching some hockey under the orange roof Sunday night.

--Game 4 as we all know had a controversial play to it as Connor Hobbs was given a 5 minute major for "kneeing" Ryan Pilon. That led to the Wheat Kings getting the tying goal which led to their overtime win. After seeing the hit, it was a penalty......but it wasn't a 5 minute major IMHO. The fact Pilon didn't get up was the big factor in the major being handed out. It makes you wonder if Ivan Provorov would have been given a 5 minute major for his blatant hit from behind on Colby Williams and why Reid Duke wasn't given a 5 minute major for his cross check to the face of Adam Brooks in Game 1. Those who say Kelly McCrimmon pulls the strings in the WHL much like Wally Buono does in the CFL have a definite argument in seeing the way the "stripes" have handled this series.

--If Pats p x p man Phil Andrews grows a stache for Movember, one must ask where his playoff beard is. CMON PHIL!!!!  For that matter. where is Daniel Fink's playoff beard and where is Mark Rathwell's?  #letdown

--Bad joke of the week!  Riders quarterback Darian Durant told the assembled media in Bradenton, Florida at the Riders mini-camp that the Jacques Chapdelaine offence was like basketball on grass. If that's the case, who's the 3 point guy because we know it wasn't Chris Milo last year!!!  Bah dum dah!!! OK....BOOOOOOOOO!!! Sorry Chris. To protect the innocent, the name of the guilty party who told me that will not be mentioned. I think there should have been a flag for that one, but there wasn't.

--Durant was on Saskatchewan's #1 sports show Thursday afternoon from Estevan as he spoke at the Bruins annual dinner. You can just tell he is ready for the 2015 season by listening to him and showing people what many of us already think and that is this team could have and would have won the Grey Cup had it not been for that awful Sunday in Winnipeg. If he stays healthy this year, you have to like their chances at being in Winnipeg in November. After all, as he reminded people while on the Sportscage, they were 8-2 when he went down.

--EA Sports has the Anaheim Ducks beating the New York Rangers in seven games to win the Stanley Cup with Corey Perry being the hero scoring a goal late in the third in Game 7. The playoff simulation on NHL 15 also has Regina's Ryan Getzlaf as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. That's not as ludicrous as it might sound. I could see those two teams getting in, but then again there could be a valid argument for all 16 teams getting the Cup which is great.

--I had just pulled into the driveway at Casa de Scruffy after Game 3 of the Pats-Brandon series when a tweet came to me asking if I had talked to Kevin Lowe at the Pats game. Kevin Lowe was at Game 3? It would have been great to have him on the Sportscage, but you know the Oiler fan would have come out in me and the question WTF Kevin, WTF??? would have come out. I'm sort of glad I didn't find out until after the game he had been there. There is no doubt in my mind he came to have a look at Wheat Kings defenceman Ivan Provorov who some think is the 3rd best player in this draft behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.  Who's kidding who, there are a lot of guys Lowe and other NHL scouts and higher ups could have been watching in this series.

--We will find out this weekend where McDavid ends up. If he ends up with Toronto, the conspiracy theorists will have a heyday and they should. Jeremy Roenick's prediction a few weeks ago would be 100 percent correct.  How will the NHL react if he ends up with Boston or L-A? McDavid in L-A would be something to see and might be rather Gretzky-ish in the hype that would surround it.

--Speaking of the Kings, Riders communications guru Ryan Pollock--a San Jose Sharks fan---is obviously still stinging from the Sharks 7 game loss to L-A in last year's playoffs after being up 3-zip. Pollock tweeted Wednesday night that after last year, he still isn't counting the Kings out of this year's playoffs.

-Wouldn't it be fun to walk the streets of Winnipeg these days with a Teemu Selanne jersey---a Teemu Selanne Anaheim jersey that is. I would think Selanne feels as strange about this series as Steve Yzerman does with the Tampa-Detroit series. Its got to be weird for Stevie Y to go into Joe Louis Arena cheering against the Wings.

--There is no doubt PK Subban should have been suspended for his slash of Mark Stone in Game 1 of the Ottawa-Montreal series. As expected, those who cheer for 'Les Bleu, Blanc et Rouge" think that is ridiculous and that Subban shouldn't have been penalized in the first place while accusing many of crying. Lets remember this when Milan Lucic does something to a Montreal player in the future or perhaps Chris Neil in this series. Subban told reporters Thursday he has been slashed harder than what he hit Stone. Methinks Subban has challenged Senator players with that statement. Here's hoping Adam Byblow doesn't ref the game. What??

--Why was the SJHL final a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 series instead of the traditional 2-2-1-1-1? Don't tell me its a distance issue. Congratulations to the Melfort Mustangs for winning the title on Thursday night. I always enjoyed the people of Melfort and the love they had for the Mustangs when I visited there while working for the league.

--The Toronto Raptors finished the 2013-2014 season with a record of 48-34 and there was tremendous optimism about the team and where it was going. The team finished the 2014-15 regular season with a record of 49-33 and there is tremendous pessimism about the team and where its going. Isn't Toronto sports fun?

--If the San Diego Chargers trade Phillip Rivers before or at the NFL draft they are crazy!

--I know I am not the only one who after hearing all the news of the Rider mini-camp in Florida wishing training camp was a week or so away.  SIGHHHHH!!!

--Winnipeg Sun reporter Kirk Penton, who is likely the best beat reporter in the entire CF of L, gave his mock draft this week and he has the Riders taking a member of the Rams with their first pick this year, but that pick is defensive back Tevaughn Campbell and not Addison Richards. Sorry Kirk, I hope you have the right team but if any Ram is going in the first round its the receiver and not the defensive back, but I think Campbell will be getting a call in the late 2nd or early 3rd round.

--Baseball just does it right by having Jackie Robinson day every year with all players wearing "42". What an outstanding tribute to a man who changed sports for the good.

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