|Hudson Bay, SK's Glen Gulutzan has the Flames on a roll|
Last night in Edmonton, the Pats erased a rather nerve-wracking 2-0 deficit in the second period to storm back for a 4-2 victory over the Oil Kings. It was the Pats' 11th straight victory, and their streak of 18 games without a regulation time loss is the franchise's longest since Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister.
There were several Pats fans among the 5,698 in attendance at Rogers Place Wednesday night who texted me things like, "All they do is win bro!" and "There's nothing they can't do!"
It really is a remarkable story and there's no reason to expect their string will end anytime soon.
This has also become a dream for the wonderful owners of the Regina Pats because for the first time likely ever, Regina sports fans are checking their smartphones nightly to see how the Pats made out.
2 - LUMBY: Former Pats goaltender Todd Lumbard is a member of the QCSEG ownership group and the President of the hockey club. He was on 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Tuesday and there were two key things I took away from our 15-minute chat. 1) The Pats are not in need of an upgrade at the goaltending position. They have all they need in the combo of Tyler Brown and Jordan Hollett, which I've been saying all along. And 2) Both the Pats and Saskatoon Blades were fined $500 for their roles in the 5-on-5 brawl two Fridays ago which I had the good fortune of broadcasting across Western Canada on Shaw/Access. Regarding the Old Time Hockey that night, Lumbard said on the air, "It's all good stuff."
3 - HE DID IT AGAIN!: CFL V.P. of Football Glen Johnson was at it again Wednesday, criticizing his own officials for two perceived blown calls in Sunday's East Division Semifinal between Hamilton and Edmonton. The biggest one was near the end of the game and the non-call on Roughing The Passer by Odell Willis on Zach Collaros. Ticats coach Kent Austin challenged it, but Replay Official Jeff Harbin deemed it a legal hit.
"I would have preferred that it would have been ruled differently," Johnson told Drew Edwards of 3DownNation.com.
Hey, Glen Johnson can do what he wants and Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge installed him in that position for a reason. However that's the second time this year G.J. has thrown Harbin under the bus and I'm not comfortable with it. It's like a Head Coach pointing out a player at his postgame news conference and saying, "HE lost us the game." Good coaches, and leaders, just don't do that.
Johnson's clearly in "Damned if you do, Damned if you don't" territory but he has been since the first time he picked up a whistle. I'd prefer the Command Centre bite their lip even if they do believe they blew a call.
By stating this publicly, it only gives the Hamilton Tiger-Cats validation for saying they lost the game because of officiating.
4 - ABOUT THOSE TICATS: I heard from the upper reaches of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization following the comment in my Monday Morning Goalie column that Kent Austin might be on shaky ground, and there's likely a shake-up to come in his staff. They weren't mad. They just wanted to clarify that Kent is in good standing, and he's expected to lead that team into Grey Cup contention in 2017.
That's not a surprise. Kent Austin has single-handedly brought back the brand of Tiger-Cats football and the team hasn't missed the playoffs since he showed up. BUT, they have some cracks and I expect them to be repaired over the off-season. Wait until June 1 before dismissing the rumour I mentioned on Monday.
5 - DIVISION FINALS: There's considerable intrigue in this weekend's CFL Division Finals. Will the Edmonton Eskimos be the first team in CFL history to earn a crossover berth and advance to the Grey Cup? The answer is yes, and the oddsmakers agree. The Eskimos are favoured by 2-points.
I think I follow the CFL pretty closely, but wasn't entirely sure who Ottawa's starting quarterback would be in Sunday's game. In fact I had to text their broadcaster A.J. Jakubec for the answer, and he replied it would be Henry Burris. Wasn't he benched about a month ago? That tells me the RedBlacks aren't entirely set on their QB'ing but at least they've got Trevor Harris ready to go. It's a great tandem.
In August, Jakubec guaranteed that the RedBlacks would not allow a West Division team to advance to the Grey Cup. No one takes us broadcasters seriously when we make these bold proclamations - nor should they - but it'll make this Sunday a lot more fun.
Out West, can the B.C. Lions continue their late-season roll and upset the Calgary Stampeders in the West Final at McMahon Stadium? The answer is no, and again the oddsmakers agree. The Stampeders are favoured by 7-points.
6 - BATTLE OF ALBERTA GREY CUP: So if the oddsmakers are right, it'll be a Calgary-Edmonton Grey Cup in Toronto in just 10 days time. Some say the knees are knocking at CFL head office over the prospect of this, for fear Eastern Canada will tune out.
I guess we're going to find out, and there's always the possibility of upsets by Ottawa and BC this weekend.
But for the integrity of the CFL (which has suffered mightily this season, none of it having to do with the actions of the Saskatchewan Roughriders), we should want the two best teams to meet in the Grey Cup. If that happens to be the Eskimos and Stampeders, then so be it.
Eastern Canada, and Toronto specifically, will have to put their big boy pants on support this game.
7 - DURANT UPDATE: There's nothing new today. Absolutely nothing. Hopefully the Saskatchewan Roughriders respect that we need to keep the fans abreast of the situation but despite the fact we've discussed it daily on the radio, nothing's happened since the season ended.
I guess there really was no reason to open discussions way back in September.
It seems the situation remains the same: Darian needs to consider taking another huge paycut, or test his value on the free agent market which means we'll be waiting until February for a resolution to this situation.
Could you imagine Darian in Blue & Gold? I don't think CFL Insider Justin Dunk threw that notion out on the SportsCage just for laughs.
It appears the ball truly is in Durant's court.
8 - HURRY UP AND WAIT: I contacted the Riders and inquired about season tickets because if all the people who've threatened to cancel or not renew theirs as a protest are to be believed, half the stadium will be available in 2017.
As it turns out, there are single digit numbers of people not renewing. As in, less than 10.
And, I was told if I want to go on the waiting list for season tickets, I'll be number 6,001.
So, there's that.
9 - HEWITT BACK IN TOWN: Former Regina Pats goaltender Matt Hewitt is in town this weekend to backstop the UBC Thunderbirds against the University of Regina Cougars at the Cooperators Centre. The good-natured netminder from New Westminster, BC realized a dream last month when he was called upon by the Vancouver Canucks to serve as their back-up goaltender on an emergency basis.
"Hewie" will tell the story on the SportsCage today on 620 CKRM.
The tale belongs in the new book by Sportsnet's Ken Reid entitled, One Night Only, which tells the stories of hockey players who appeared in one, and only one, career NHL game. The cherry on the top of that book is literally, Don Cherry.
10 - FLAMES ON A ROLL: On the SportsCage Wednesday I suggested that the Calgary Flames won't win a game without Johnny Gaudreau who's recovering from a broken finger suffered Tuesday in Minnesota. Lo and behold, the Flames outlasted the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in overtime Wednesday night, without Johnny Hockey.
I'll remind you where the Coyotes are in the standings -- dead last in the NHL's Western Conference.
But this two game win streak has to be a confidence booster for Glen Gulutzan's Flames just when his bosses were (reportedly) considering giving him the pink slip.
Now if they'd just stop forcing Gulutzan to wear that hideous Stampeders hat during his media scrums. The Hudson Bay, SK product is a diehard fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and he shouldn't be forced/asked to wear a Stampeders hat.
The Edmonton Oilers don't stop Jordan Eberle from wearing a Rider hat during his media scrums.
THAT'S IT! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO ..