|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
- First off a huge congrats to former Regina Thunder linebacker Yianni Cabylis, Defensive Lineman Boyd Richardson and the rest of the UBC Thunderbirds on capturing the 2015 Vanier Cup. What a football game! Here's hoping we start seeing more and more CIS and Junior Football on TV and getting the coverage it deserves as a result of this one. The drama in the fourth quarter against Montreal is why sports are so amazing. Congrats again guys!
- The Regina Pats are in Saskatoon for their first meeting of the season with the Blades tonight (7 pm on 620 CKRM). It is the 7th of 9 straight games on the road for the Blue and White. The first 6 saw the Pats go 2-3-1-0 and they sit 12-11-2-0 on the season. The carry a 14-game winning streak over the Blades into the game, they swept the season series the last two years and have not lost since the Blades Memorial Cup year. An unheard of run in any league at any level.
- Pats goaltender Tyler Brown has taken the rock and run with it since taking over the starting duties in early November. The Winnipeg product has gone 3-5-0-0 in his 8 games with a 2.97 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Brown has given up 2 goals in 5 of those starts. Jordan Hollett has been really good as well. The 16-year old has not lost in regulation in his three starts going 2-0-1-0 to begin his full-time WHL career.
- Consistency is the ever-elusive word for the Pats so far this year. The road trip epitomized the up and down play for the club. In their two wins over Red Deer and Calgary, the team looked unbelievable. But in losses to Brandon, Edmonton and Red Deer, it was quite the opposite. I tell you what, once this team figures consistency out, look out.
- No big surprises for Team Canada's World Junior Selection Camp Roster for 2016. Of the 30 players invited, 10 are from the WHL. 27 of the 30 are drafted in the NHL while the other 3 are eligible in 2016. 2 goalies are invited, 11 defencemen and 17 forwards. Lawson Crouse, Brayden Point and Joe Hicketts are returning after winning gold in 2015, Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome are locks to make the team. From what i've seen from Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels, there is no way he doesn't make the team. The roster is jammed packed with talent. Have a look here: http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/team-canada/men/junior/2015-16/selection-camp/roster
- Once again the Edmonton Oilers are dead last in the NHL. Losing 3-0 to the Leafs the other night has a lot of people talking about what needs to happen in terms of a shakeup for this team. Yes Connor McDavid is out and maybe they pick up a couple more wins with him in the lineup but at the end of the day something needs to change. The team is not going to change coaches again and so that leaves a trade. If I am the Oilers I trade Taylor Hall for a top pair defenceman. Maybe to New York for Travis Hamonic and another piece. Hall to me is expendable, watching him he doesn't seem as smart a player as Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall skates up and down the ice, gets his scoring chances but just doesn't make anyone better in my opinion. The Nuge has been the Oilers' most consistent forward all year and Eberle is a top flight goal scorer when healthy. Hall will fetch you the biggest return and In my opinion will hurt the team the least if he goes. A lot of people will disagree with me on this one and yes Hall could be another Tyler Seguin but I still think he's the guy that should go. Nail Yakupov would not fetch much and Leon Draisaitl has been great so I doubt he is on the table. Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson have been pretty good as rookie defenceman and they need all the help on the back end they can get, now and in the future. Hall makes the most sense but the media and fans see it differently than I do.
- The Arizona Coyotes meanwhile are really screwing up getting the home town kid Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL Draft. Matthews is the favourite to go 1st overall this year and what a boost that would be for the Coyotes to generate some excitement around the team. But right now Arizona is winning, they are three games over .500 and sit third in the Pacific Division. They are a playoff team, not a lottery team right now and with the play of Max Domi, Mike Smith, Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker they will continue to win.
- Speaking of the Pacific Division, it's tight but doesn't have the same fire power as the other three in the league. Los Angeles, San Jose, Arizona and Vancouver are all within a few points but sit at least 10 points back of Dallas and Montreal who are one two in the league. Mark my words, the Vancouver Canucks will once again be a playoff team, lose in the first round and get the 20th overall pick in the draft. Good to see Daniel Sedin in the top 5 scorers in the league again. The Sedin twins are sill so good but the Canucks are not built to win the post season.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the CFL post season. The Divisional finals were fantastic and the Grey Cup came down to the wire. The league redeemed itself after a tough regular season.
- Not a fan of the new CFL logo. I don't hate it but it's not great. My real problem with the whole thing is the timing of the release. A soft launch just two days before the Grey Cup and the league wasn't ready for the change. The staff, website and merchandise all still dawned the old logo. The CFL would have been much better served to wait until the dog days of the off-season to start generating some excitement for the 2016 year. Marketing 101...
- The Edmonton Eskimos were the better team on Sunday. Kudos to Mike Reilly who battled all night long and pulled it off. The Edmonton defense really turned the game around after allowing two straight Ottawa touchdowns to start the game. I kind of feel bad for Hank, always seems to falter in the big games.
- I also feel bad for every Cleveland Browns fan on the face of the earth. The Browns were the Browns on Monday night. Went from a field goal attempt to losing on a block, returned for a TD in a matter of 10 seconds. Only Cleveland could and would find a way to lose a game that way. It's not getting any better either.
- Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30. My guests this week are goaltending coach Rob Muntain, goaltender Tyler Brown and defenceman James Hilsendager.
That's all I have for today, talk to you from the rink tonight.