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Friday, December 28, 2012


A shorter version today, as this blogger is on vacation, but a list of holiday observations nonetheless:

• The #1 holiday question around here: "So, what do you think about Austin going to Hamilton?"

God bless Regina. And for that matter, Saskatchewan. It's minus-29 here yet people are talking about a CFL team 2623 kilometres away (courtesy Google maps).

My answer? "Good for Kent Austin, good for the Ticats and good for the CFL!" I generally say. And that's the truth.

Most times the person asking the question admits to some jealousy, wishing Austin was here and that's understandable. The man is responsible for two of our three Grey Cups but the timing wasn't right for him to come back.

• There would likely be some kitchen table discussion about the NHL if they were playing, but the NHL has taken care of that. There is very little talk of the World Juniors where I've been. Perhaps it will pick up as the tourney goes along.

• Thank you to Donald Fehr. Because of the NHLPA executive director, I actually like Gary Bettman now!

• For anyone who thought Jordan Eberle's jersey retirement by the Pats was too soon, in 2009 Weston Dressler's #2 was retired by Bismarck High School. It's only the second number retired by BHS. Weston was 24 at the time.

• If the Roughriders re-sign pending free agent Odell Willis, they'll have to give up a 3rd-round pick in this year's CFL Draft.

• Sorry but I don't believe for one second that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats didn't have a deal in place with Kent Austin before firing George Cortez. They may say that they didn't, but that can't be the case. Good Lord for their sake, I hope it isn't.

• We need a Dome folks.

• Ottawa CFL team co-owner Jeff Hunt approached Rider President Jim Hopson at league meetings in Las Vegas two weeks ago about renting the nickname "Rough Rider" one day per season. What should we charge 'em?

• Former Rider offensive tackle Joel Bell got engaged to Katie Sharpe over the holidays. Looks like it happened Christmas Eve. Congrats Joel! He was always a favourite.

• Tweet of the Week from former Blue Bomber-turned-broadcaster Troy Westwood:

From: @TroyWestwood
Just heard a fella declare, "It's so cold it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey." Although somewhat perplexed, I would have to agree.

• The Regina Pats currently reside in the WHL's weakest division. At the Christmas break, here are the average wins by division which give you a picture of who's the strongest division in the Dub:

East: 15.8
Central: 18.1
BC: 17.2
US: 20.2

• Interesting story in Vancouver where goalie Liam Liston informed the Giants over the Christmas break that he is "retiring" to enroll at the U of A.

* Trent Whitfield (Providence) and Quintin Laing (Abbottsford) have been chosen as captains for the 2013 AHL All-Star Game in Providence on January 28.

• Remember when the WHL had an All-Star Game?


• Remember when the NHL had an All-Star Game?

• Don Cherry was complaining on Twitter on Boxing Day about Nail Yakupov taking a Canadian player's spot in the CHL. That argument is so 1995. I say let the best players play major junior, regardless of nationality.

• Canada is 2-0 at the 2013 WJHC after this morning's 6-3 win over Slovakia but our nation is quickly getting a reputation as a bully. Two Canadian players were slapped with game misconducts in the contest. Do they really think they can win the tourney playing this way?

There was a lot of groaning about the officiating after the game. Canada will have to adjust because the refs will not.

• TSN commentator Ray Ferarro's luggage didn't show up until five days after their arrival in Ufa. How frustrating that must have been.

• Ferarro and J.C. Lipon's father have the same nickname: "Razor".

• The transmission difficulties on the World Junior telecasts are annoying.

• That Pepsi Max commercial where the three young guys trick their boss into thinking he's crazy so they can watch football on the big-screen at work is Super Bowl-worthy.

• There is no Press Box Sports Bar Friday lunch buffet today. Why not check out the Four Seasons' lunchtime smorg? It's always top shelf.

• Phil the Thrill has the Sports Cage today at 5 pm. Don't miss it!