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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RODSERVATIONS

Keith Hershmiller Photography
HERE WE GO

1 - The curtain rises on the second round of the WHL Playoffs Thursday night in Regina as the Pats (52-12-7-1) entertain the Swift Current Broncos (39-23-4-6) at 7:00 pm on 620 CKRM, Access and Shaw. The two teams have the stage to themselves as it's the only game in the Dub Thursday evening.

2 - On paper, it's a mismatch. The Pats finished 24 points ahead of the Broncos in the standings and held a 7-0-1 record in the season series. The Pats are also riding a 12-game win streak into the Eastern Conference Semifinals so no matter how you gauge a playoff match-up - the season series or recent play - Regina has it all covered.

SportsCage NHL Insider Rich Sutter predicted on Wednesday that the Pats will take the series in six. I'll concur, but most everyone can agree that it's going to be a whale of a series and the Broncos won't roll over.

3 - Here's a bold prediction as far as the Pats are concerned: The best is yet to come from the Queen City Kids. Their 4-game losing streak near the end of the regular season capped a dizzying stretch where the team played six games - in six different cities - in nine nights. Even after that stretch was over, the club was playing seemingly on every second night. It was exhausting to follow as a fan so I can't imagine how the players felt.

The Pats needed the rest afforded by a first round sweep of the Calgary Hitmen to collect themselves, heal up, and breathe.

Now, look out.

4 - Game 1 on Thursday will be a tone-setter for the entire series. The Broncos are riding the wave of their 7-game first round series win over Moose Jaw and rightfully feel they're on a roll. If they continue that momentum into the Brandt Centre and can somehow steal Game 1, they'll give themselves a chance. However if the Pats come out flying, as expected, and get up early, this truly will become David vs Goliath as the records indicate.

5 - First-year Broncos Head Coach & GM Emmanuel Viveiros seemed calm, cool and collected in his appearance on the SportsCage on Wednesday. Calling into the program from the Broncos team bus on its way into Regina, Manny displayed no signs nerves. Why? Because all the pressure is on Regina. Swift Current isn't expected to win so they can play loose, and their way.

"We like our group," Viveiros cheerfully advised, and said the regular season is no measuring stick for the team he's bringing into Regina.

The Pats seem fine with that scenario.

Let the games begin.

6 - DUB HUB: Can you believe the 1989 Memorial Cup-winning Broncos won 55 games in the regular season and went 12-0 in the WHL playoffs before capturing the title with a 3-2 OT win over the Blades in Saskatoon? What an absolutely dominant performance. It's not like I didn't know, but I was doing some reading up on it on Wednesday ... Meanwhile hockey fans around here are asking if the Moose Jaw Warriors will can Head Coach Tim Hunter after he threw players Jayden Halbegewachs and Noah Gregor during their first round series. I have to absolutely say no, they won't. I re-read the quotes and Hunter simply sounded like an exasperated coach. Is he right? All I know is, he sure upset a lot of people.

7 - We are over the hump of the CFL off-season. Four months have gone by, and we've got less than three months to go before the start of training camp at the end of May in Saskatoon. While things may appear quiet in Riderville, I can assure you they're anything but. The Football Operations staff is furiously detailing plans for the spring minicamp in Florida in two weeks' time, and the invite list is being endlessly scoured. Once the first ball goes in the air at Dodgertown in Vero Beach on April 25, it'll be an endless string of Rider news right up to training camp (including the 2017 CFL Draft on May 7).

One CFL item of note on Wednesday came from Montreal where the Alouettes signed former Roughriders and RedBlacks receiver Alex Pierczalski.

8 - I guess we can start with the predictions now. It was April 1 last year when I threw out my predictions for the CFL West Division which rankled members of the Edmonton Eskimos considerably. I said the Esks would be scrapping for fourth-place (which is where they finished) but I completely whiffed on picking the Riders for first-place. (I'm still amazed that prediction shocked people).

I won't predict an order of finish this year - at least not yet - but I'm still comfortable with forecasting a 10-win season for the Green & White.

9 - Former Rider lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek had no issue with making his West Division predictions for 2017 on Monday's SportsCage on 620 CKRM. The 10-year CFL veteran sees the West shaking down this way:

Calgary
BC
Winnipeg
Saskatchewan
Edmonton

Let Twitter go wild with that one.

10 - Very sad news out of Toronto on Wednesday that TSN Radio has made the decision to simulcast CFL TV and radio broadcasts on 1050 AM Toronto this season. That means long-time Argos radio play-by-play man Mike Hogan is out of a gig and he opined about it on Facebook after the fact.

Is TSN so broke that it needs to nickel-and-dime things like CFL radio broadcasts? It's a highly disturbing trend.

11 - Back to hockey for a minute. Hockey fans are howling far and wide about the NHL's refusal to send its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Commissioner Gary Bettman has shouldered most of the blame from the Facebook postings from fans I've seen. Even the players themselves are upset about the NHL's stance, with Washington's Alex Ovechkin saying he's going to South Korea no matter what.

To me, that's a selfish stance by the players and an overly-emotional one by the fans. History shows  that NHL involvement in the Olympics has done nothing to enhance the game's profile globally and all it is is a "fun" exercise for the players. It's also led to the death of the national mens hockey program in Canada.

I say move over and give some new players the chance to be heroes! The Miracle On Ice in 1980 wouldn't have even happened if there was NHL involvement back then and Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione and Herb Brooks would just have been "some other guys".

That particular tournament in Lake Placid did more for hockey in the USA - and maybe even the world - than any other international event has before or since.

Keep the NHL players at home, and let's see who else is ready to become a star.

12 - I'm not the biggest fan of golf but I always perk up on Masters weekend. It was earth-shattering news on Wednesday that Masters favourite Dustin Johnson may have to pull out of the major after tripping on some stairs in his Augusta rental home and badly injuring his back. The proper bets now should be whether Johnson plays at all?

If his father-in-law Wayne Gretzky has any say in the matter, Johnson will tape an Aspirin to his back and be ready to tee off at 2:03 pm local.

13 - Very much looking forward to next week's Harvard Broadcasting trip to sunny Las Vegas, NV. I've got all my muscle shirts packed. Now all I need is muscles.

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BIRTHDAYS: Happy Birthday to Pats legend Clark Gillies who turns 63 on Friday!

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THAT'S IT! TALK TO YOU FROM THE BRANDT CENTRE AT 4
RP
@rodpedersen
www.realtyoneregina.com
www.myaccess.ca

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your opinion on the NHL not going to the Olympics clarifies the fact that you are still lobbying for an NHL job and don't want to upset any owners.

Anonymous said...

Mike Abou-Mechrek almost hit it right on except the riders will easily finish last

3RD and 1 said...

I' wonder if the Riders signing of Vince Young will by chance bring out a few more walk on American players. There may be some good talent that would have never taken notice before the signing of Young. So hopefully we do start to see some positive side effects. Ones that no one had even thought of.
This way if Vince doesn't pan out. At least something good came of the signing.

Anonymous said...

GO PATS!!!

Anonymous said...

Great move by NHL. Now the NBA should be next.

Anonymous said...

Regarding NHL hockey players in the Olympics, no other sport has professional players competing as far as I an aware. In Figure Skating if they turn pro can no they can no longer compete. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason this 2nd round WHL series should go more than 5 games. The Pats are better, deeper, and better coached. f the team plays the way the coach wants them to, then it's 5 games max. Papirny is pretty good but Brown has been better. Papirny can steal the odd game. Crappy officiating has been prevalent here in the Queen City this season. Let's hope it cleans up it's act.

Anonymous said...

Olympics is best against best, period. Why do you think baseball disappeared? Olympic hockey will basically be the Spengler Cup if they stick with this.

Tim from Kansas said...

You know, other than soccer, there's nothing to compare with Olympic hockey, and to me, the way it works right now is perfect. Every country gets to bring their best players, and in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. It's so perfect.

Think about how remarkable it is that our little country can still beat the best. I've lived half my life down here, but as a Canadian I still get tingles watching Olympic hockey. I still love being a Canadian like I love air. The opportunity for the Canadian hockey players to compete to be the best, at the greatest game, in front of the entire world, is a gift and a great source of pride.

We’re not going to win anymore if we stop sending our best players. I feel like for 2 weeks every 4 years, this game belongs to the fans and the players, who just want to compete. For those 2 weeks it doesn't belong to the owners.

Just my thoughts, though I do respect everybody else's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Rod don't wear those wife beater shirts , you look like an old skate boarder, sure you have muscles , but their in your head

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Olympics. It has always been about amateur athletes, and has since been ruined with the pro players like the NHL, NBA, now golf and tennis.

Anonymous said...

If Hunter was right as you suggest, perhaps Gregor and Halbegewachs will be playing elsewhere next season. Let's face it, Hunter failed. Paddock wouldn't make comments like that. Paddock doesn't throw his players under the bus publicly. I'm guessing we haven't heard the last of this.

Your move Al Miller

Anonymous said...

How are the pats games not sold out yet? I got my tickets but Regina is far from a hockey town

Anonymous said...

Could be a few NHL jobs open this summer, word is Fox LA is looking at the Oilers Jack Michaels for their television regional job. Of course Vegas. If Rod winds up in the NHL maybe Harvard can bring Mike Hogan out here, he would be awesome on the sportscage and calls an awesome game.

Anonymous said...

Pats games will be sold out. Less then 100 left for tonight, 24 left for Friday night. I would suggest if you want tickets, get to Ticketmaster now.

Relax bud.

John Knight said...

If NHL players are not in Olympics, there will be far less interest. In the long run, some players will not sign long term contracts because they want a chance to play on the worlds largest stage.
The Stanley cup is only a money grab for the owners. Players only get a small percentage of their normal salary in the playoffs.
Bettman is just a stooge that is against Canadian cities. All you have to look at is teams going to Vegas and staying in Arizona and lousy attendance in many US cities while there are Canadian cities that will support them

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Regina not a Hockey Town comment. Regina is a Canadian city just like Moose Jaw, Toontown and Swift Current. As Canadians we are cheap, the games are televised so you don't have to get your fat ass of the couch,find parking and pay $20 to see some great hockey. I assume the not a hockey town comment is from a toontown troll. I will be at the game enjoying the atmosphere and great entertainment. I'm sure the attendance will be just fine.
Go Pats

Anonymous said...

Regarding the NHL and the Olympics- there's a perfect and easy solution to this standoff; move hockey to the Summer Olympics!

That would eliminate Owner's concerns about a league shutdown and resulting compressed schedule while in the midst of playoff races. Some teams could easily have eight or ten players competing. The risk of losing players to injury or fatigue would be eliminated if the Games were held in hockey's off-season.

The selfish dog-in-the-manger attitude of the IOC stinks! The NHL gets no brand recognition or benefits out of it, but Owners get their assets (players) exposed to risk of injury!

Anonymous said...

Does John Knight really think the Olympics are hockey's largest stage?

Latvia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Austria, Norway, Slovenia?

I got news for you, no player in the NHL would choose a olympic gold over a stanley cup and no worthy player will sacrifice playing NHL seasons to play in an olympic games with lesser players.

Anonymous said...

Swift in 6 games, nothing more to say.

Morgan said...

Sounds like the folks in moose jaw are a little sour these days... I love it!!!

Anonymous said...

With the time difference in 2018 and the 2022 Olympics, TV ratings will be down. As much as I love the Winter Olympics, I won't be sitting in front of the TV at 1am to watch any event, even hockey. Thanks goodness for PVR.

Anonymous said...

The 55 wins by the 1989 Swift Current Broncos is extremely impressive considering there were no Overtime games in regular season. The Pat led the WHL with 52 wins this year and that included 7 OT wins, that equates to 45 victories in 1989 (still impressive). That is how good the 89 Broncos were.

Blair

Anonymous said...

Have you heard a rider play by play game on the radio with all its loud indiscernable screaming?

Anonymous said...

I had a bad feeling the CFL is going that direction, just simulcast the TSN TV broadcast onto each team's home market radio station of highest bidder.

John Knight said...

Other than players from North America, no players from other countries give a crap about the Stanley cup over Olympics and a lot of North Americans feel the same way

Anonymous said...

Evraz realize there's overtimes in the playoffs?

Anonymous said...

TSN has to pay those new, hefty Jay & Dan contracts.

Anonymous said...

Broncos are not going to be a pushover for the Pats, their goalie won the championship for the Wheaties last year