|Keith Hershmiller Photography|
GAME 7 - The series isn't over yet, but it will be tonight. The Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats have treated fans across this province to what has been an outstanding best of seven series. While I don't know what Game 7 has in store, I do know if it wasn't for Tyler Brown, the Brandt Centre would be dark tonight.
Brown saved the Pats from being eulogized on Saturday night. As I sat alongside Phil Andrews in the press box at the Credit Union I-Plex, I thought it was game over when Glenn Gawdin roofed one to make it 3-1 early in the 2nd period. The Broncos had all the momentum, and were seemingly on their way to their second upset of these playoffs as they kept coming at the Pats. Brown refused to relent though as he made several huge saves leading to goals by Josh Mahura and Wyatt Sloboshan at the end of the 2nd period to deflate a Swift Current team looking to end it,
What will Game 7 bring? Who knows! I am sure Warriors fans thought the series was theirs in the first round after Moose Jaw staved off elimination only to see Swift beat them at Mosaic Place, The same thing could happen tonight. I expect both teams to come out and play the same style of game that has gotten us to this point. To quote John Frenzy "It's just going to be fantastic!!"
HOT TICKET - It was great going through social media channels and seeing people either celebrating that they had tickets for tonight or are looking for some. The Pats are the hottest ticket in town. The interest remains high and the excitement level may be beyond what it was last year. It's good to see because there were many days when it wasn't like that.
GAME 5 - I have gone to the Brandt Centre (Agridome) for Pats hockey since the day the building opened. There has been many a night when the Regina hockey fan has taken that "I'm just glad to be here" approach and sit on their hands while the action unfolded in front of them. I opined on that in Friday's column saying now was not the time to be quiet and they weren't. That might have been one of the most energetic crowds I have seen in all my years watching the Pats under the orange top. The fans were into it before the puck dropped. Can it be done again tonight? I hope so.
YO CHICAGO - Raise your hand if you picked the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup!! (Yes. my hand is raised). WTF? It is bad enough you get blanked home twice by the Nashville Predators, but its real bad when Preds goalie Pekka Rinne has two points in the series with no Blackhawk having one! While picking the Hawks to win, I at least only have one in my playoff draft. No doubt, they are the biggest disappointment early on in these Stanley Cup playoffs,
GET READY CANADA - The Leafs made a statement in Game 1 of their series against Washington despite losing. All the talk of the high-flying Capitals skating circles around the young Leafs was put to an end, and now there is talk of an upset after Toronto's Game 2 double-overtime win. Let's just pu the brakes on that for a bit! There is no doubting though the young Leafs are going to toe-to-toe with the more experienced Capitals. It reminds me of the young Oilers going up against the mighty Habs at the start of the Edmonton dynasty. No one thought Gretzky and his young group could beat the likes of Lafleur, Robinson, Shutt and Gainey, but they did. Can Matthews, Marner, and the rest of the young Leafs topple Washington. They certainly can!
JUSTICE, WHAT JUSTICE - Did Matt Calvert actually miss Game 3 of the Columbus-Pittsburgh series because he was suspended, or he had a sore wrist after getting slapped by the NHL Department of Player Safety? Why have such a department if you aren't going to have any teeth? It is simply ridiculous the Columbus forward will play in Game 4 and beyond after his actions towards Pittsburgh's Tom Kuhnhackl in Game 2. What precedent has been set? What message has been sent? I think we all know the answer to that.
THE BANDWAGON IS EMPTYING - The 2017 MLB season isn't even two weeks old and the good ship "Blue Jays" is taking on water. Am I surprised the team has the record it does? A little bit, but when people said coming out of spring training that Toronto was the best team in the AL East, I laughed hard. Kendrys Morales is not a replacement for Edwin Encarnacion and won't be. The pitching staff is fragile and they're not getting any younger. Add the nagging Josh Donaldson injury and it hasn't been the opening the Jays thought they would have. That being said, there is a long way to go in the season.. ESPN's Buster Olney has already written an article stating the buzzards are flying around the Toronto carcass waiting to see what moves if any will be made. Safe to say the pressure is on Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins to do something. Somewhere Alex Anthopoulos must be grinning.
STILL SEARCHING - Weyburn's Graham DeLaet got a cheque for over 200-thousand dollars Sunday afternoon after finishing in a 6th place tie at the RBC Heritage Classic, but I think many of us were hoping for more. DeLaet has never won on the PGA Tour, and it seemed as if everything was going his way, but he couldn't put together a solid 4th round and while there were good shots, there were too many bad ones as he fell off late. When is it going to happen? It is a question many are asking.
That's all I got. Hope to see ya at the Brandt Centre tonight.