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Friday, February 26, 2016

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday and the usual set of weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order.

-- I don't know if the Regina Pats will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round of the WHL playoffs, but if they do, I hope they have the same mentality they had in Wednesday's game in the southern Alberta city. Regina won the game 9-8 in a contest where there were over 100 shots on goal. This is hockey the way it is supposed to be as far as I am concerned. From listening to 620 CKRM's Phil Andrews lose his mind for most of the game, it seemingly had everything.

There were obviously goals, there were chances, there were big hits.  The game came just a few hours after I heard a hockey coach say that some of his more skilled players had to play a more defensive game.  1-0 and 2-1 games don't sell tickets. I am guessing 90 percent of those leaving the Enmax Centre Wednesday night left having thoroughly enjoyed themselves even though their hometown Hurricanes lost.

We need more hockey like this, and not the defensive minded crap that has taken over. You don't need 4 on 4 hockey, you don't need 3 on 3 and you don't need to change the rules. Let the teams play the game and show some creativity. Sadly, we all know this will never happen which is a shame. Premier Brad Wall states let's never go back, but when it comes to hockey, I'd be OK if we did, and I think a lot of others would be as well.

--- Speaking of the Regina Pats, they are turning some heads having won their last seven with victories on this streak coming in Lethbridge against the top team in the conference, in Prince Albert against the 2nd place team in the Eastern Division and a home ice win against the top team in the division---the Brandon Wheat Kings. They are doing it all without their captain Colby Williams who can be a gamechanger as well. Connor Hobbs has stepped up, Adam Brooks continues to shine, and many others are as well including Tyler Brown who has stopped a lot of rubber in this win streak.   The rink should be jammed for tonight's encounter against the Raiders with a win putting Paddock's proteges firmly in the rear-view of the Raiders as they will be 5 points back with 11 games to play. I don't know where Regina is going to finish when all is said and done, but they are going to be a tough out.

-- Speaking of tough outs, are you ready? Are you ready to invest yourselves in the Toronto Blue Jays like you did last summer or will you wait again until August 1 as most non-baseball fans did. Spring training is underway across Major League Baseball, and in just over a month's time, it will be time to play ball. When Toronto opens the season, Jose Bautista will be in the lineup, but one has to think his time in Toronto is likely coming to an end. Word on the street is Bautista at the age of 36 wants a 5 year, 150 million dollar contract. Do the math and yes, that's 30 million dollars a season. If I am the Blue Jays, I am saying thanks, but no thanks to that offer if it is indeed what Jose is looking for.  ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips says no team will take on that salary. No kidding!

Take nothing away from what he has done for the team over the last few seasons, but contrary to what some say, he is not the face of the franchise anymore  as far as I am concerned. He was for the last couple of years, but that honor goes to reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson. Toronto has Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin locked up and chances are they will lock up Edwin Encarnacion to a far cheaper deal than what Bautista wants. Add to that, he is also a few years younger. There is a chance Bautista is back, and if he is, that is good news for Toronto, but don't be surprised if this is his last season in a Toronto uniform, and if they are out by the trade deadline, don't be surprised if his days in Toronto end in late July.

There's a reason the team was trying to get Cincinnati's Jay Bruce (a rightfielder with pop in his bat) in a trade, and while that deal fell through, I wouldn't be shocked to see talks get revived.  The extra money can also go to shoring up that bullpen and perhaps adding another starter to go with Stroman, Estrada, Hutchison and Dickey.  A pitcher who could slot as the number 3 guy in that rotation would improve that area greatly. You also might want to think about what you are going to give Donaldson who will likely get a huge deal once his current two year deal is up. Would you rather have Donaldson for the next 5 or Bautista for the next 5 Jays fans?  The answer should be simple.

-- A question was asked of me the other day about the Riders and their farewell season at Mosaic. The question was how hard will it be to get tickets and what are the Rider plans for the final home games at the old girl. I don't know is the answer. I would think its a guarantee that the Labour Day game is once again a sellout, and I would be shocked if the October 29 finale isn't a sell-out especially if we know there will be no home playoff game as the lights will get turned on for the final time that night. As for what the team has planned, I am sure they will let you know when the time is right, but I hope they honour the greats, and that they bring back the greats for one last ovation.  The likes of George Reed, Roger Aldag, Bobby Jurasin, Gene Makowsky, and others, many others deserve to get one last ride in the golf cart around the stadium hearing the cheers of the Rider Nation from the stadium where they became famous. The Riders do their best to make every home game a special one, and in this the final season or "The Farewell Season", I am sure they are ready to usher the old girl out in memorable fashion. Is it June yet?

-- While I am sure the Riders will market "The Farewell Season" in the proper way, I don't know if CFL marketers know what they are doing. Then again, the same might be said for the players association.  What is it going to take for this league to do things properly? There is no hype being shown towards the CFL draft whatsoever.  South of the border, there is probably too much attention on the combine going on. NFL Radio was discussing quarterbacks and how scouts look at their pinky to thumb ratio to see if their hand is big enough. What is more important? Having a proper pinky to thumb length, throwing a 20 yard out to the sidelines or recognizing who is coming on the blitz and what kind of coverage you are facing.

Back to the CFL and their non-hype. How about doing some promotion of the league's top draft-eligible players as we approach the big day. Keep that hype maching rolling in the off-season! As for the association, perhaps start talking to corporate Canada about how to get some CFL'ers involved in marketing campaigns of meaning (sorry Humpty's!!).  Players like Henry Burris, Mike Reilly, Weston Dressler and Zach Collaros amongst others should have their names attached to some company, Hell, if Jennifer Jones can do ads for Scott Paper, can't CFL players be involved in ads for some of their corporate sponsors. That isn't the league's fault, its the players associations fault. Several years ago, a high ranking member of the association told me you can't market CFL'ers nationally, but you can regionally. That was a load of horsecrap then, and it is now.

-- The CKHS should be alive this weekend.  The U of R Cougars mens basketball team plays their first home playoff games since 2009 when they play the University of Winnipeg. If you are going to the games which tip off at 7 tonight, Saturday and Sunday if necessary, then I have three words for you. MAKE SOME NOISE!!

-- If Jolene Campbell tossed and turned in her hotel room bed in Grande Prairie, one couldn't blame her. If her missed hit with last rock in 10 for the win was the last stone she throws at the Scotties, she won't forget it for a while, She knows that game was in her backpocket, and she has made that shot many times before. Alberta's Chelsea Carey knows they got lucky. Many rinks will be cheering for New Brunswick's Sylvie Robichaud to beat Manitoba's Kerri Einarsson in the final draw. CMON SYLVIE!!

-- The Thunder know who did it, but we don't. Whoever paid off the Thunder mortgage with a 75-thousand dollar anonymous donation should be recognized for his good deed. He or she obviously doesn't want that though and that's fine. Whoever it is has helped Regina's junior football team out immensely.

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

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Jones has this in the bag anyway

Anonymous said...

The only people who like 1-0 and 2-1 hockey games where dump and chase and the trap is prevalent are coaches. I wish that Lethbridge game would have been on TV. It probably was one of the best hockey games in the last decade. That game showed there is nothing wrong with hockey, but there are problems with the suits who have ruined the game.


Anonymous said...

No doubt Donaldson is face of franchise. He's only the MVP ya know! Bautista is 36, the others are younger. Donaldson signed a short contract to get a big one later so keep that money because you can use it to keep Donaldson when his time comes up again.

Jays need a closer and another starting pitcher. Get that and you are playoff-bound again.

Richard

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on the state of the NHL.
A bit ago I met an old guy that played in the NHL in the 50's. He's rather small and I asked him how he did it. He said, if you could skate really fast and stickhandle at the same time there was room for you in the league. Then he added, "Nowadays they pay big men big dollars to neutralize guys like me."
He played in the six team era and there was only 125 players in the entire league. Nowadays there is still only 125 hockey players in the NHL and the other 600 players are coached to shut down the talented ones.
The 'suits' are wrecking the game and in my mind it started with 'Badger' Bob Johnson and the Calgary Flames trying to neutralize Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers. If the referees had pulled their whistles out of their pockets back then they might have saved the game.

Geezer

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Jolene played way to much weight for that shot, hack to bumper at the most is the correct weight and allows the sweepers to control it.

She called for "control weight" and it appeared she was even a bit up from that.

Anonymous said...

Mitch, your distaste for the Jays is clouding your judgement.

You got schooled the last couple sportscages by Rod, Arash, and Jungle Jim Lang. Is because you want your Cubs to win that you cheer for the Jays to fail?

Anonymous said...

can we trade durant for drew willy, like asap!

Anonymous said...

Last Anon is an Edm or Peg fan. Willy is getting there but no where near a Grey Cup Champion QB. The last season Durrant played he had his team at 8-2 before he was smoked in the backfield due to an O-lineman completely missing his man. Then Darian was out for the season.
Willy the last 2 years has also been seriously injury plagued.
When Darian is Healthy is is still a top 3 QB in the league. Willy might be a 7 or 8 in the league.
All 3 GM's and 3 head coaches have elected to keep Darian as the starter. That should say that Darian is a star and you my not so smart friend are a very uneducated football fan. Or just a sheet disturber

Anonymous said...

Opinions are opinions but i could never blanket statement that 8-7 games should be the norm, just like all 2-1 games are boring.

A game is a game. Some are good some are bad.

If you want more entertaining games divide the Western League in to two leagues. Cut down on travel resulting in an increase of energy.

I would apply same thing to NHL.

But to me, the game is fine but then i understand its intricacies.

Anonymous said...

Really tired of our so called super Sports networks never giving any CFL news. This latest free agent period should have at least warranted a comment or too......for god Sake this is Canadian Football and they treat it like Australian Rugby or Cricket. We are all Canadians show some support for a Game you televise in season. Wouldn't your ratings be a little greater in Season if you at least mention the Argos, Riders, Getslaff, owens etc.

Cloud Strife said...

As a hockey coach, is your first priority to create an exciting game, or to win?

Coaches are always going to try to stifle the other team offensively, it's a proven way to be successful. Expecting coaches and other team personnel to care more about the fan's excitement than winning percentage is a pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

Cloud Strife...

And that statement is exactly why fan interest is hockey is waning.

Wake up!

Anonymous said...

I say, hip hop hor-ray Manitoba womans curling reigns supreme. In the Scotties playoff playdowns on the hunt for the championship.

Mr. Snootie.

Anonymous said...

Scruffy, the hype is not there with the CFL draft because of two glaring issues:

1) Rarely are Canadian players coming out of the Canadian College system ready to be instant impact players in key positions. Obviously the players eventually develop into starters, maybe into fan favourites or even legends. But the sad reality is that during the first couple of years it is nothing but special teams and spot duty. The real sad reality is that by the time they are ready to start, it is usually free agency time, the player has the option to take their talent elsewhere.

2) TSN prefers to hype hockey over the CFL (yes even as owners of the Argos they still refuse to really get behind the CFL). It also doesn't help that Rogers refuses to mention the CFL, along with the CBC and others. If the CFL in general is not being promoted, you really can't ask why is the draft not being promoted.

Kel in Victoria

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt Donaldson is the current face of the franchise. How can you think anything different? Bautista has shown his greed by making such a ridiculous demand. Sign Edwin and send Jose on his way. A Blue Jays team with Edwin, Donaldson, Tulo, Martin, Pillar and Travis is still a damn good lineup.

Anonymous said...

Barking up the wrong tree when it comes to the CFL/CFLPA and corporate Canada.
Corporate Canada is the problem. Are their any athletes right now hawking a product on TV? No NHL players, no Raptors, no Blue Jays, no nothing.
It is a joke that guys like Crosby, McDavid, Burris, Lowry, etc. etc. etc aren't getting added exposure, but companies obviously don't want to promote their guys.
I don't understand it.


Chris

Anonymous said...

- To think a 9-8 is interesting or should be the norm, is purely idiotic. Extremely so!

- I watched the entire game and it was one of the "worst" games I have ever witnessed. No flow at all just mistake after mistake, nobody playing defence, unforced turnovers, poor positional play, poor goaltending and I could go on. It was an embarrassment. The wild score was the product of ineptitude as opposed to anything else.

- I have witnessed 3-2 and 4-3 games that were far more exciting and entertaining than the debacle on Wednesday was. Read Paddock's comments on the game and it will spell out everything.

- Good hockey and 9-8 scores have nothing in common. Anyone who has any experience with the game would understand that. It's too bad some writers don't. Anybody who watched that games on Wednesday knows that is "not" how hockey should be played. AND it never will. Stop promoting terrible hockey in the name of a 9-8 score. Poorly played games are simply that.

Cloud Strife said...

Anon,

And how do you propose to make coaches care more about entertainment than winning percentage? Award style points?

The bottom line is that in the NHL (and hockey in general), defense wins championships. Until that changes, its impossible to force teams to play a wide open style.

Anonymous said...

took your advice and went with the Burger at Pats game last night instead of hot dog Scruffy! Great choice bud.

Anonymous said...

scruffy told me to eat the dry ribs at Moose Jaw once and I thought they were awful