Monday, April 16, 2012
THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE
Where Saskatchewan Comes To Talk
We are five nights into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they have been nothing but a three-ring circus. Cue the clowns. It seems just about every one of the eight first-round series (save for New Jersey-Florida) has had some sort of fines, suspensions, goonery and drama. This isn't what we want.
Some trolls wrote in here yesterday saying "This must be what you want!". No. It isn't. As I pointed out in Sunday's comments section, you can still play tough, playoff hockey within the rules and between the whistles. What went on in that Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series yesterday was disgraceful. These guys don't even know how to play it tough!
If you don't know the difference, then you don't know this game. The Globe and Mail's Bruce Dowbiggin said it best in a weekend column: "Talk to players, coaches and management around the league (even the liberals) and you'll find that they're in favour of retaining fighting and intimidation because they don't trust the NHL's justice system." Bruce wrote this in support of Elliotte Friedman's comments on Hockey Night In Canada.
However what we've seen is gross. The hit on Daniel Alfreddsson in New York was straight out of Slapshot. The diving by Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was shameful and the antics of Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby have been downright childish.
Let's hope they straighten up. I was going to say they should pop in a tape of an Edmonton-Calgary game from the 1980s to see how the playoffs should be played but maybe not. Remember this one?
Marty McSorley and I will be at the same sports dinner in Estevan next month. I'll have to ask him about that.
There was plenty of tension in Weyburn Friday night. That's where our weekend began as Scott Schultz and I broadcast the Sports Cage's Four Seasons Playoff Friday live from Crescent Point Place. It was just before Game 6 of the SJHL's Canalta Cup which Humboldt led the Red Wings 3-2.
From the minute we walked into the lobby at 4:00 you could sense people were on edge. Their team was facing elimination and their best player, SJHL MVP Jesse Ross, had been suspended for the rest of the series by league President Bill Chow. They seemed out for blood.
Chow appeared on our show at 6:00, looking resplendent in a double-breasted black suit. Are they back in style? Because I have a closet full of them waiting for the day that they are. Anyways Bill calmly explained the rationale behind his decision but right in the middle of it some lady came and slammed a hand-written letter down on the table in front of him. "TAKE A LOOK AT THAT!" she advised sternly. Bill seemed mildly rattled but I knew after 30 years as a Prince Albert cop, he's been through far worse.
At the interview's conclusion Chow read the last sentence aloud. "I hope you have a good life Mr. Chow," the lady wrote. "Because you have ruined Jesse Ross's dream". We still had 30 minutes left in the show but Bill's time was up. He stood up and uncomfortably looked around. It seemed as though he'd rather sit with us than be released into the wilderness that was the Crescent Point Place lobby. However a few minutes later Red Wings executive Ken Ferguson came by and extended his hand to show there were no hard feelings.
The barn was rocking and it was complimented by a busload of Broncos supporters. We saw them when they arrived and they'd had a snootful. It's doubtful many of them remembered the game. It turned out to be a 6-0 Humboldt rout and the series-clincher.
Chow did not escape unscathed. "Only had 1/2 cup of water thrown on me," Bill wrote in a text message later that night.
I told him it could have been worse.
- What on earth was Don Cherry wearing Saturday night?
Hasn't his stylist heard of the movie Beetlejuice???
- It amazed me on Thursday, sitting across the Sports Cage table from veteran broadcaster Peter Loubardias, how this man is looking for a job. His knowledge, his passion, his talent. It defies logic. Whomever hires him next is getting a good one.
- The hardest I laughed all weekend was during a conversation with Merle Kozun, a 50/50 seller at P.A. Raider games. On the phone he told me the Leafs are his "regular season team" and the Philly Flyers are his "playoff team". That's what it's come to for Toronto.
- I'd like to point out that the USA Today said this is a better Penguins team than the one which won the Stanley Cup three years ago. Our Titan Auto polls on this website predicted a Vancouver-Pittsburgh Finals but both teams are down 0-3. That just shows how crazily unpredictable these playoffs have been.
- I have no idea if the Eberle and Friends Golf Classic is sold out but it's got to be close. Jordan was in the Cage with us last week but wasn't sure which NHL celebs would be there, nor how to register. However I posted the lady's email address from the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and I'm sure she's been inundated. Ray Elgaard even called from Las Vegas yesterday wondering how to enter.
- Local sports bar owners say if the Canucks lose this series, it's very bad news for their businesses.
- Through Saturday night there were 10 "pucks-over-the-glass" delay of game penalties in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That's the new en vogue penalty. Last year it was "too many men". There was another one late in the Vancouver-LA game last night.
- Is it just me or is hypocritical and somewhat inappropriate for Kerry Fraser to come on TSN during game nights and point out all the blown calls by the CURRENT officials?
- A Flames employee told me last week he could see Brent Sutter heading to coach the Oilers. Jim Matheson made the connection as well in a weekend Edmonton Journal story here:
- This could be a stretch. As an Oilers employee told me on Friday "we don't even have a GM right now, really".
- Pat Conacher to coach the Flames? Why not? I'm sure he's ready, willing and able.
- Did anyone in the Calgary media ask how much the Flames paid to take over the Stampeders? I was told it was roughly the equivalent of the salary cap, or near $5-million. Don't look now, but that's far lower than your average WHL team would be worth.
- The last time Edmonton played Moose Jaw in the WHL playoffs was in 1967. It was a ten game series, which the Moose Jaw Canucks won over the Oil Kings. I'm not making it up! Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun has the story here:
- Rider legend Don Narcisse will be on the Sports Cage today for Rider Monday. He still doesn't have his CFL Hall of Fame or Plaza of Honour rings back after losing them at the Leader Post's Raise-A-Reader day at the Conexus Arts Centre. I mean, if somebody walked off with them, what good are they? You can't WEAR them. It's like the punk who stole Logan Pyett's World Junior gold medal. What GOOD is it to you? If you have them, please return them.
- The feminists will be happy. The Lingerie Football League has suspended operations for the 2012 season. Presumably they're out of money. Now what will prospective Regina Rage coach Larry Mueller do?
- Graduated Regina Rams receiver Brenden Owens has been invited to the Roughriders' mini-camp to be held in Regina at the end of the month. He got a shot with Hamilton last year but was injured throughout the evaluation.
- When will Jason Clermont make an announcement regarding his retirement? In January Rider GM Brendan Taman said he will not be offering Clermont, a free agent, a new deal. Perhaps Jason is just hanging on for as long as possible. His Twitter profile is him in a Rider uniform. Or ... maybe he's not done yet? Stay tuned.
- At a southend get-together Saturday night it was suggested the line seperating north and south Regina has been moved down to Parliament Avenue from Dewdney Avenue. That would now make it "NOP: North of Parliament" as opposed to "NOD: North of Dewdney". Hey, don't shoot the messenger.
- Former Rider-turned-Eskimo Cary Koch got married on Saturday. Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf were among those in attendance.
- The DUI charge to Rider defensive end Odell Willis seems to have been met with a collective shrug of the shoulders from Rider fans. However consider this comment from a weekend article from Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press:
"Joe MACK could have spent the day on Thursday saying, 'I told you so.'
After a month of taking heat from Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans for trading CFL sack leader Odell Willis to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for draft picks, it would have been hard to blame the Bombers GM if he'd used the announcement of Willis's arrest on drunk driving charges to point out to his detractors it was precisely this kind of erratic behaviour by Willis that led the Bombers to trade the vocal defensive end in the first place. But that's not the style of Mack, who is old school to the core, always the gentleman."
- Take it for what it's worth but Rider great Scott Schultz had this to say on Friday's Sports Cage: "The Code of Conduct is a joke".
- Thank God Twitter wasn't around when Scott Schultz played. #fine #suspensions #hardfeelings
- Kudos to CFL personalities Anthony Calvillo and Matt Dunigan for lending a hand to various fundraisers this off-season. AC is speaking in Timmons, Ontario's Athletes in Action banquet this month while Matt is speaking at an event in Grande Prairie, AB to raise money for their school football program.
- Come check out the Harlem Globetrotters at the Brandt Centre tonight at 7:00! The Trotters' Hammer Harrison stopped by the Sports Cage last week to promote the game. He's 6'9" and said I made him feel short! We'll see you there tonight.
- Former Regina Pat Rhett Gordon announced his retirement from pro hockey yesterday. The "Golden Rhett". His little brother Boyd is starring with the Phoenix Coyotes right now.
- We managed to sneak in the movie 21 Jump Street on the weekend. It was good with a lot of laughs but there's a lot of dumb parts too. 1 1/2 thumbs up from the MMG.
- Theatres are getting lazy! Instead of putting up movies and showtimes on their marquee, all they've put on the sign is "GO ONLINE". How sad.
- All the good guys are getting punted from Celebrity Apprentice. Last night it was Paul Sr. from American Choppers. Or Orange County Choppers. Or whatever it is. I really liked Dee Snider from Twisted Sister too but he walked the plank a few weeks ago. I'm pulling for Aubrey O'Day now. Any relation to Jeremy?
- Don't forget the Press Box Sports Bar is your Stanley Cup Playoff headquarters with $5 pints EVERYDAY! It's the cheapest in town!
SEE YOU IN THE CAGE