Friday, February 26, 2016
SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT
-- 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!