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Thursday, February 18, 2016



1.  There hasn't been much time spent on the topic of Dennis Wideman on this blog but today's the day.  The Calgary Flames are "very upset" that on Wednesday NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension handed their defenceman for striking linesman Don Henderson on January 27.  We've all seen the replay hundreds of times and anybody who's played the game can clearly see it would have been just as easy for Wideman to take two steps right versus the two steps left that he took to pulverize the official.  He was in a fog from being hit and possibly concussed?  Right.  Allowing that defense would be a pandora's box that no one wants to see opened.

2.  Wideman is quoted in a text message to a teammate as saying he wouldn't have even had a hearing with the NHL if it wasn't for the "stupid refs" and the "stupid media".  WHAT, IS HE 10 YEARS OLD?  And now Flames President of Hockey Brian Burke is defending Wideman.  This is like the parent who defiantly defends their child in the principal's office even though Little Johnny struck a teacher in the head with a rock on the playground and was caught on video.  It's deplorable that the Flames would defend this guy.

Grow up Wideman, take your punishment, and move on.

3.  Where are Oilers fans emotionally after their 5-3 loss to Anaheim the other night at Rexall Place?  Depressed?  Impressed?  Optimistic?  Pessimistic?  What kind of "stic" best describes Oil Country now?  It changes so fast I can't keep track.   The gross thing is they're in line for another draft lottery win and the right to select American phenom Auston Mathews.  That is a stomach-turning thought, but a very realistic one.  Shameful.

4. Professional sports leagues are going to have to take a serious look at the use of video replay again.  Review the review, as it were.  The delay in that Edmonton-Anaheim game on Tuesday took 10 minutes before reaching a conclusion.  TEN MINUTES!  I have to say I changed the channel and never came back.  Fans in Rexall Place were probably looking for the same option.

Initially I campaigned for the banning of video review entirely but that's impossible.  Imagine if a championship game was decided on a play that was not reviewable but TV replays showed otherwise?  Sports really has painted itself into a corner here on this one.

5.  Hot Tip Of The Week:  The Prince Albert Raiders will be playing in a new facility in five years max and you'll never guess who the prime financial backer is.  It's Edmonton Oilers owner Darryl Katz whose family is from P.A. and the very first-ever Rexall Drugs is on Prince Albert's Central Avenue downtown.  At least, that's what I was told this week by a very reliable hockey source.

6.  CFL Free Agency is done for the most part, and all that the second tier of free agents can hope for now is to be signed as a "Blue Light Special", as Daved Benefield used to call it.  The new Rider regime remains extremely tight-lipped on the status of free agent receiver Chris Getzlaf and it appears he may have to prepare for the possibility that his career is over.  The same goes for Paul Woldu who, like Getzlaf played nine years, would be departing with three Grey Cup rings and likely an induction into the Regina- and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.  Their careers spanned triple the average for a pro football player.  However I'm sure it's tough to face the fact it could be over.

7.  The response I received from one high level CFL executive when I asked on Wednesday when we can expect to get our hands on the 2016 schedule was "Soon!".  It's turned into a ginormous pain in the rump because people around here can't wait to plan their summers and vacations but what can we tell you?  The CFL hamstrung itself somewhat by releasing the schedule last year on January 28 so we expect more of the same now.  Last year the league had to deal with the FIFA Womens World Cup in Edmonton and the Pan Am Games in Toronto and Hamilton and still was able to get the schedule out in record time.

Where's the Commissioner in the media - or on social media - explaining what the hold-up is?


At least we got a new logo.

8.  Football maven John Frenzy was furious his Roughrider license plate "FRNZY" was stolen off his Chev Impala last week right outside his south Regina residence.  The car wasn't stolen, just the license plate was.  Dennis in Calgary wrote in and said, "Lynch should consider himself lucky!  If it was a Stampeders license plate in Calgary, nobody would have wanted it!"

9.  Jolene Campbell of Regina's Highland Curling Club will represent Saskatchewan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts beginning Saturday in Grand Prairie, AB.  It's her first time at nationals as skip, but her fourth time there overall after having been a member of the Amber Holland rink.  Go Campbell Go.

10.  We are well into the sports banquet season and here's a wonderful piece of advice if you plan on attending one:  ZIP IT!  My wife said the incessant chatter of the ladies at the next table ruined the speech of Chris Jones for her Friday night at the Delta Regina for the Kinsmen Dinner.  People were complaining about the sound system Friday night but the best speakers in the world can't overcome the buzz of chatter in the room.

Remember the Regina Red Sox dinner last year where Blue Jays great Devon White had to TWICE scold the room?  How embarrassing that was.

If you're not into sports but received a free ticket to one of these galas, please stay home and send somebody who's interested in listening to the keynote speakers.

Here are the sports dinners I'll be a part of this spring:

March 19: Regina Thunder featuring Gizmo Williams
March 26: Bulyea, SK featuring Gregg Zaun and Jim Hopson
April 16: Eatonia, SK featuring Wendell Clark
April 21: Cougar Men's Hockey Alumni with Dennis Hullo
April 23: Regina Red Sox featuring Roberto Alomar
May 7: Hudson Bay, SK featuring Craig Adam and Rod Pedersen

Hope to see you at one or all of them!