Welcome to Friday! Here are the weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they come in no particular order!
In the past, there were many years where a playoff appearance didn't happen and if it did, it was over after the first round. If a second round appearance did materialize, the team was nowhere close to ending an Eastern Conference final drought that has not seen them as part of the WHL's final 4 since 1993. This Regina team will be just as good if not better next year. Yes, Colby Williams and Cole Sanford will not be back, but there are so many returnees who will be better and are now playoff-experienced. The Regina Pats are once again someone to contend with and that hasn't been said for a long, long time. One can only imagine what players like Austin Wagner, Connor Hobbs, Lane Zablocki, Sam Steel and others will do. Having Adam Brooks come back as a 20 would help too, but let's see what his future is after the NHL draft. Let's just put it this way----entertaining hockey is back at the Brandt Centre for the first time in a long time. You may want to be a part of it next winter and for the next few winters moving forward.
-- The Hockey News says through the first five nights of the Stanley Cup playoffs, ratings are down 61 percent in Canada. That is jaw-dropping even when you consider all 7 Canadian teams didn't make it. However, Sports Business Daily reports in the same time frame, ratings in the U-S are up 13 percent with an average 468-thousand watching games on the NBC Sports Network. Does that mean NBA playoff numbers are down in the US. If it is, I don't think the NHL brass will be that disappointed with the terrible Canadian numbers. Perhaps Rogers should start picking up some MSNBC feeds so we can hear Emrick, Cuthbert and others instead of giving us team announcers like what we are hearing now.
I think it was Tyron Brackenridge's mission to empty as many bottles of champagne over as many people as possible on that night. Shortly before this picture was taken, (look at Carm with the photobomb) I was dry until I ran into number 41. He looked at me and with a quizzical look said "You're dry". I said "So far" to which he replied "Not any more" and proceeded to dump a bottle over my head. If you remember, it wasn't that cold of a night after the Riders had won, but when you are soaked it was a little chilly waiting for the media bus and as I cut up tape in the 620 CKRM newsroom of what I had witnessed, the stench of champagne was strong as it was when I returned for work Monday morning.
Of course, moments after he had drenched me, he found another bottle and got Premier Brad Wall who was one of many in the room on that night. That is the lasting memory I will have of Tyron Brackenridge. When he was at the top of his game, there weren't many better, but like many others who wore green last year, his game disappeared. Brackenridge called it a career after not getting any takers following his release in December. I can't help but think this guy would make a tremendous coach somewhere if he wants to. What is known for sure is a "Plaza of Honor" recognition will come in the next few years.
-- Maurice Price gets traded to the Riders and then retires. You don't see Chris Jones and company screaming looking for compensation do ya? It's called professionalism.
-- The WHL is getting down to the nitty gritty with who the top 10 players in its 50 years of history are. Number 10 is Cam Neely and number 9 is Grant Fuhr. Who will top the list? Joe Sakic tops my list. I thought Wendel Clark, Theoren Fleury and Clark Gillies would be in the top 10, but they came in at 15, 17 and 24. I'm sure you could put 100 people in a room and you would get 100 different top 10's. What a great debate amongst WHL fans and what a great initiative by the league.
-- The NBA is going to a place I don't like as they are going to have corporate logos on jerseys. It means NBA players will become walking advertisements for a variety of businesses as they become the first league to "desecrate" the jersey. Yes, CFL players have had logos on their jerseys, but they were small and they were all for the same business. If what I have heard is right, you could have the Golden State "Budweiser" Warriors taking on the Denver "Papa Johns Pizza" Nuggets. If the NBA is going to allow this, it won't be long before the other pro leagues do it as well. Thanks, but no thanks. Who will the Raptors sponsor be? I am guessing it might be BMO seeing they are a major sponsor of Raptors basketball now.
-- The great Vin Scully is into his last year calling Los Angeles Dodgers playoff baseball games. I find myself watching more and more Dodgers games just to hear Scully do his thing. Would it be too much to ask FOX to ask Joe Buck to move aside for the World Series so we could hear Scully do one last World Series. I like Joe Buck no matter what sport he does so this isn't a slam on him. I just think baseball fans deserve to hear Vin Scully do one last World Series. I don't even think Buck would mind sitting one out if it meant he was being replaced by Vin.
-- The Rangers and Wild are on their way out meaning my playoff draft has gone up in smoke. At least I didn't take any Flyers.
Have a great weekend!