|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
-The 50th Anniversary Season of the WHL was officially launched in Regina on Monday. Commissioner Ron Robison, Pats GM and Head Coach John Paddock as well as Moose Jaw Warriors GM Alan Milar were all at the Brandt Centre for the news conference. It's an exciting year for the league and will kick off with the Pats at the Warriors next week Thursday at Mosaic Place and then the Pats will host Moose Jaw Saturday in their home opener at the Brandt Centre.
It was really a great event. Was good to see all the Pats alumni that showed up. Guys like Kim MacDougall, Doug Trapp, Graham Tuer, Al Dumba, Dale Derkatch and others were all there. Clark Gillies will make the trip to Moose Jaw for next weeks season opener and be a part of the festivities, as will Warriors alumni Ryan Smyth.
Get your tickets and come see what should be an awesome opening weekend. Pats Head Coach and GM John Paddock encouraged you to do just that and took a little good natured shot at the Riders during Monday's news conference. "I urge our fans to get to Moose Jaw, get some tickets there for the game, opening game on the 24th as well as filling our building on the 26th. I think this is the most entertaining, exciting sport going on in the area. Rod (Pedersen)? More goals scored than points..." Paddock joked. "We look forward to it, look forward to a great season and a great rivalry with Moose Jaw."
- Four Regina Pats continue their first NHL rookie camp experiences this week and a former Pat is turning heads across the country.
Former captain Braden Christoffer was a no name heading into rookie action with the Edmonton Oilers, all the hype was on 1st overall pick Connor McDavid, and rightly so. However Christoffer, the Sherwood Park product, was incredible in the three games of their tournament. Braden scored in each of the three games and added two helpers. He will play again tonight against the Alberta Golden Bears. Christoffer is signed by the Oilers AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors but if he keeps this up, anything is possible.
Current defenceman Connor Hobbs has impressed as well with the Washington Capitals. The Saskatoon native and 5th round pick of the Caps scored twice in three rookie tournament games.
Forward Adam Brooks is a free agent invite of the New York Rangers. He scored in his first game against the Minnesota wild on a tip in front. 3rd round pick Defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy is also with the Rangers.
Austin Wagner and the Los Angeles Kings played in a rookie game yesterday against the Arizona Coyotes. Wagner scored in the second period and the Kings lost the game 7-3. A good showing though for the Kings 4th round pick.
- The Pats are back into the Brandt Centre tonight when they host the Prince Albert Raiders in pre-season action. The roster continues to sit at 31 players just over a week away from the start of the regular year. The Pats are 1-4-0-0 so far while the Raiders are 0-4-0-0. While it is just the pre-season, assistant coach and assistant GM Dave Struch wants to see more from the team with two games left in the pre-season.
"Compete level, I don't think we've seen enough of it from guys that are trying to make the team. I think that when you come into an organization and a program that we are trying to develop here where we want to increase our standard of excellence, with the opportunity that some of these young guys have to make the team, I don't think there is enough compete. That's one thing that you can't really teach. It's something that they either have or they don't, they have to develop that within themselves, they have to want it, they have to expect it of themselves. The systems, the skills, those types of things we can work on for these guys to get better but until they really want to do it for themselves it's a difficult situation. We hope we see more of it Wednesday and Friday night against P.A. and then we go from there."
The average age of the Pats as the roster sits right now is 17.03 years. Struch says that's not an excuse. "I think it's just something that these guys just need to take the bull by the horns. Individually they have to understand what kind of opportunity this is. We have been talking about it for two years, how we want to start from scratch. We did it last year by trading away some older guys that were really quality people. We brought in some youth, we are starting this year young and we are going to be young all year. It's a matter of understanding and taking advantage of it. I mean it's the old saying, if the opportunity is there take it, if opportunity knocks answer the door, there is a whole bunch of different cliches you can say. We just aren't seeing it yet and we hope to see it in our last two games."
Puck drop tonight from the Brandt Centre is at 7 o'clock with the pre-game at 6:35 on 620 CKRM.
- It is so good to have the NFL back. Sunday was bliss sitting on the couch watching the Packers beat the Bears, then flipping on to the Broncos and Ravens before the Sunday nighter with Dallas hosting the Giants.
Thoughts on week 1? Well Chicago is a better team under John Fox. The offense controlled the ball well in the first half and allowed just three, maybe four Green Bay possessions. But as it always happens, Jay Cutler threw an interception at the worst possible time and the Packers won. Cutler has thrown a pick in every one of his starts as a Bear against Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers proved once again why he is the best QB in the game. Limited drives but he is just masterful.
Peyton Manning was not sharp in his first start for the Broncos on the season. But the Denver defence is really good and that was the difference in their big win over Baltimore.
Very interesting matchup between Tampa Bay and Tennessee in the afternoon. The number 1 pick Jameis Winston of the Bucs and number 2 pick Marcus Mariota of the Titans. Number 2 win this one, not only in the score but in overall performance. It was the first time ever that 2 quarterbacks taken one and two in the draft opened the season playing against each other. Made for a good story in a game that otherwise I would not have payed attention too.
Sunday night was a crazy game. The Cowboys shot themselves in the foot time after time. Despite all the mistakes, Dallas was the better looking team and they pulled out a miracle last second victory over New York. Tony Romo is so good, he is silencing his critics every week he's played in the last year. I would like to see the Cowboys play a little faster on offence going forward, in the final minute they did that and moved the ball efficiently and won. Losing Dez Bryant for 4-8 weeks will hurt but the Cowboys are going to have another good year.
- Seeing the TV numbers from the weekend was pretty interesting. Sportsnets Arash Madani tweeted that the NFL opener on Thursday between the Patriots and Steelers drew over 700 thousand viewers, Higher than any of the four CFL games on the weekend. The Blue Jays were the four most watched TV programs over the weekend in their four games against the Yankees, the fifth was the Jays post game show on Saturday.
It seems TSN has noticed that shift in sports interest in the country. This was the Sportscenter lineup after the Sunday Night NFL contest: Jays Tulowitzki story and then Jays highlights, 3 NFL Game highlights, US Open Tennis Final and then B.C. Lions and Ottawa RedBlacks. The CFL, TSN's entity, dropped to the 7th story in the package. If I was the CFL I would be a little perturbed but at the end of the day the network has to cater to what people care about right now.
- The Riders announced Kevin Glenn will start at quarterback Saturday against the Ottawa RedBlacks. I was quite surprised to hear that news on Tuesday. Yes it makes sense on the side that says you play to win and Glenn gives you the best chance to do that. However, the playoffs are a pipe dream, yes mathematically it is still possible but come on now, they are 1-10. It's embarrassing to the CFL that a 1 and 10 team still has a chance at the post season. In my humble opinion, give Brett Smith and Keith Price the playing time. Yes I get that eventually that will happen once they are mathematically eliminated. And don't get me wrong, I get the decision, Bob Dyce, Jeremy O'Day and everyone involved needs to win and prove they are capable. I just think long term for the organization it would be better to stick with the new QB's.
- The Regina Thunder lost a heart breaker on Saturday at home to the Saskatoon Hilltops. The Thunder led heading into the 4th but gave up 16 points, did not score and lost 26-25. Their record now sits at 3-2 while Saskatoon is 5-0. It will be a race to second place for Regina now barring a collapse of the Hilltops in their final 3 games. The Thunder will play in Winnipeg on Sunday against the 1 and 3 Rifles.
- The Jays lost last night in Atlanta. Not ideal however so did the Yankees in Tampa Bay. Seems these two teams win and lose on the same days except when they play each other. Praying that holds true for the rest of the year. 18 games left!
- The loss of Troy Tulowitzki is a tough one for Toronto. The saving grace is the defensive abilities of Ryan Goins and Cliff Pennington. Sure their bats aren't as accomplished nor as dangerous but if there is an area the Jays can afford an absence it's at the plate. They need Edwin back though as soon as humanly possible.
That's all I've got for today, have a great week everybody.