15 ODDS N' ENDS
The Pat Canadians captured the Regional title Sunday with a 4-2 win over the Thunder Bay Kings in Steinbach, MB while the Regina Capitals clinched the PJHL crown with a home Game 6 victory over the Saskatoon Quakers at the Al Ritchie.
This may be a football province, but our hockey prowess shouldn't be overlooked.
2 - As for the Pats, they've been cooling their heels after completing a first round sweep of the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday. I never said it publicly, but didn't think the affair would go past five games. Now, the Pats get the benefit of some much-needed rest and can reflect on their 12-game win streak.
3 - The Pats' second round opponent will be decided Monday night, and Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place is the place to be for area hockey fans. The Warriors will host the Swift Current Broncos in Game 7 of their first round series. Many predicted this series would go the limit, but few went out on a limb to guess who will come out on top.
Now it's down to a one-game showdown to earn a date with Regina.
4 - Who do the Pats want to win Monday night? You'd never get them to say but Regina seemed to have far more regular season success against Swift Current than Moose Jaw. However the playoffs are a different animal altogether and the Pats will face a stiff test no matter who emerges Monday night.
Who would you rather the Pats face in Round 2?
5 - No matter whom the Pats line up against in the Conference Semifinals, Regina will go in as the favourite (and not just based on points). An NHL scout said on the weekend, "The Pats were the #1 team in Canada almost all year long. Therefore they are the favourites to win the Memorial Cup."
That's not news, but it reaffirms the pressure the Pats face each time they lace up their skates. So far, they've been equal to the task so there's no reason to expect they'll lay down now.
The benefit for the Pats of the 7-game Moose Jaw-Swift Current series is that the two clubs are beating the crap out of each other.
6 - As far as Round 2 TV coverage goes, I'll be calling Game 1 on Thursday along with Darren Dupont on Access and Shaw before Sportsnet moves in to broadcast Games 2 and 3.
After that, I'm not sure what will take place. I'm headed to Las Vegas for a work trip next week and am hoping the playoff dates fall into place so that I can call as many games possible.
7 - People sent me photos of the Brandt Centre box office last week when Round 2 playoff tickets went on sale. Fans were lined up outside the front doors which made me glad I scooped up four playoff ticket packages weeks ago. Those tickets are quickly becoming a hot item, as we predicted they would.
"Don't these people know they can buy online?" one Pats fan from Estevan said on Sunday.
I don't know. I guess this is just the Regina way.
8 - Crazy WHL Playoff game in Victoria Sunday night as Everett topped the Royals 3-2 in a game which went to a fifth overtime. In total the game lasted 151:36:00 which makes it the longest game in WHL/CHL history.
Of course in 1996 the Regina Pats and Lethbridge Hurricanes went four overtimes before Josh Holden ended Game 1 on a redirection of a Gerad Adams point shot to end the madness. At the time, it was the longest game in WHL history but it's now slipped to third. It's not one I'd care to re-live again. Adding to the drama was the fact it was nationally-televised on TSN.
9 - Of course there is some football news. Many Rider fans have been asking if Chris Getzlaf will be back with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017 but I waited until we were on stage together at Thursday's 51st Annual Regina Rams Sports Dinner at Queensbury Centre to pop the question.
|On stage with Getzlaf on Thursday|
"It's not about money," Getzlaf stated, which immediately made me think it must be nice to be in such a position.
The feeling I get is that if Getzlaf signs with a CFL team this spring, that'll be great but if he doesn't, he's prepared for that too.
Chris appeared in all 18 games for the Eskimos last year, catching 41 passes for 455 yards and 2 TDs. 2.2 receptions per game are decidely "un-Getzlaf-like" numbers but as CKRM's Luc Mullinder pointed out on Friday, almost all the balls in Edmonton were going to Adarius Bowman and Derrel Walker.
The last chapter in Getzlaf's football career remains to be written.
10 - Regarding his departure from the Roughriders last year at this time, Getzlaf said he's "over it-ish". He offered that unlike some of his teammates, Chris Jones and John Murphy were very upfront with him about their plans for him and that made it easier to take.
"But obviously I would've liked to finish my career in Saskatchewan," Getzlaf concluded.
11 - Thursday's program at the Rams Dinner also featured a Hot Stove Panel with Rams quarterback Noah Picton and Head Coach Steve Bryce, and me as moderator.
Picton - the reigning Hec Crighton Award winner as the top player in Canadian university football - said as far as the Canadian Quarterback Situation in the CFL goes, he'd prefer to earn a pro tryout based on his own merits rather than it being mandated by some silly Canadian version of the NFL's Rooney Rule.
Noah's got two more years of U-Sport elligibility remaining in order to make that happen.
12 - A busy week continued Saturday night in Assiniboia as I was MC/Guest Speaker at the Assiniboia Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction. Joining me on stage were NHL career penalty-minute leader Tiger Williams and Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell of Moose Jaw.
|Tiger on Saturday in Assiniboia|
Tiger made the drive over from his home in Stewart Valley, SK and he came armed with stats. He told the crowd there have been a grand total of 5,700 players who've suited up for one game-or-more in NHL history. Of those, 10% are from Saskatchewan and 40% never appeared in a playoff game!
Of course Tiger kept the crowd in stitches with his stories of being charged with assault after the 1974 WHL playoff brawl in Exhibition Stadium, needing a police escort into Quebec after calling the Canadiens a derogatory term and how the infamous photo of him riding his hockey stick down the ice came about.
Siera Bearchell gave a profound address as well, and it gave a nice measure of diversity to the evening.
The great people of Assiniboia and area raised a whopping $150,000 for their new rink project Saturday night.
13 - There's still time to purchase tickets to Thursday's Cougar Mens Hockey Alumni fundraising dinner at the Travelodge featuring former NHL enforcer Marty McSorley. For tickets, call Sharky at 306-539-4089.
14 - This Calgary arena story is getting delicious. After Gary Bettman repeated recently that the Saddledome is sub-standard, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared the Calgary NEXT project "dead", Flames President Ken King has now threatened to move the team, but says that's more "fact" than a threat.
King backed off on his comments somewhat this weekend.
Right! That's a tactic right out of the Handbook For Bullies.
Where are they going to go? Quebec City?
How about ... the Saskatoon Flames? That would have made a good April Fool's joke.
15 - Speaking of, some people in Saskatoon got real hot under-the-collar with Saturday's April Fool's Day story of Saskatoon applying for a CFL franchise. A lot of the comments couldn't be published here.
Where's the sense of humour guys?
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Rider Running Backs coach Craig Davoren, former Rider Chris Best (2007-2016) and CFL great Rocky Di Pietro.
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