|Photo by Brian Liesse|
As Pats fan and former Regina Ram John Carmichael said last night at the 4Seasons, "That's why they play 7 games Roddy!"
Very true. And the anger at Wednesday's performance eventually evaporated and turned to excitement at the opportunity which still dangles before the Pats in a series which has now become a Best-of-3.
2 - THE GREEK FREAK: The 4Seasons Sports Palace was packed last night with fans of both the Pats and the Edmonton Oilers, who were playing Game 7 of Round 2 in Anaheim. The debate raged over which game should be featured on the big screen, since both faced off at 8:00 pm. Tensions were high.
"Pats fans have been waiting 33 years for this," 4Seasons owner George Yannitsos declared. "The Pats game will be featured."
That was until Regina fell down 6-1 in the second period and showed zero signs of coming back. So the TV was switched, the Oilers went on to lose Game 7 by a 2-1 score, and fans of both teams left demoralized.
What had the potential to be one of the greatest nights of the year turned into a complete dud.
Such is sports.
But honestly it felt great to be a fan again. Now I know why you guys get so pissed off and say things you don't mean in the heat of the moment! I honestly forgot what it was like. It's fantastic.
You are forgiven for every rotten thing you've ever said on this blog.
3 - OFFICIATING: Call me crazy, but I have NO complaints with the officiating in the WHL Playoffs this year. Sure there are some calls that not everyone can agree on, but that's always going to happen in any sport. No one can agree on anything and that's why there's so much hate in the world.
But from the 2-minute minor for Seattle's Keegan Kolesar kneeing Regina's Connor Hobbs in the groin in overtime of Game 2, to the diving penalty on Thunderbirds Captain Matt Barzal in Game 2, I've had no gripes with any of it.
The notion that Kolesar should've been suspended for his knee on Hobbs was an out-and-out fantasy. Some are saying it was "a deliberate attempt to injure".
What? I've seen guys try to pry an opponent's eye out with their stick in the past! This was nothing other than entirely stupid.
Kolesar paid enough by costing his team the game and all was settled by the hockey gods on the ice that night.
As far as the Stanley Cup Playoffs go, I haven't watched enough to comment but the officiating seems typical from what I've seen.
If Oiler fans want to blame the refs for their team's second round exit, then their frustrations are misdirected.
4 - OVIE, EBS AND THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Unlike some leagues, the NHL won't go underground in the off-season. June is going to be off-the-charts entertaining with the Las Vegas expansion draft followed by the NHL Entry Draft, and then in July it's Free Agent Frenzy.
There were social media posts on Wednesday night saying Alexander Ovechkin may be offered to the Las Vegas team because he, again, couldn't lift his team to a Game 7 victory. BUT, I could never see a team leaving their captain unprotected.
And then shortly after the Oilers' loss in Anaheim, Facebook was rife with comments that the Jordan Eberle Era in Edmonton should now be over. Will he be left unprotected? Would the Golden Knights be willing to pay his $6-million salary?
If they're smart, Golden Knights GM George McPhee will. Expansion teams are generally stocked with a bunch of stiffs but a flashy player like Eberle would sell tickets in that market.
And his personality would be a great fit for Sin City too. Jordan still has the first nickel he ever earned.
All of this will be spectacular to follow.
5 - THE COMMISH SEARCH: Don't forget the Canadian Football League is still without a Commissioner. Sportsnet's Arash Madani reported on Tuesday's show that the CFL received 30 applications and from there they'll whittle them down to a shortlist, then the finalists, and hopefully we'll have a replacement for Jeffrey L. Orridge in June.
Madani further reported that, from he's been told, this is NOT a star-studded field of resumes and that this is no longer a coveted position. While the NHL has had the same Commissioner since 1993, the CFL has had at least six in that time period.
As far as names go, no one seems to know and if they do, they aren't saying.
6 - THE 2017 CFL SEASON: When this season finally does kickoff on Thursday, June 22 with Saskatchewan at Montreal, there are going to be a ton of salacious stories. See for yourself:
- Will Darian Durant be able to resurrect his career in Montreal?
- Will Chris Jones be able to turn around the Roughriders ahead of schedule in Saskatchewan?
- Will the Vince Young comeback include him being a back-up QB in Saskatchewan?
- Are Jim Popp and Marc Trestman the ones to restore the Toronto Argonauts to respectability?
- Will the Calgary Stampeders atone for last year's choke job in the Grey Cup?
- Will the Winnipeg Blue Bombers continue their slow, steady and impressive ascent?
- Is Ottawa Canada's #1 sports town right now with the resurgence of the Senators and RedBlacks?
- Is this the year Kent Austin finally gets it done in Hamilton?
- Will the Eskimos recover on the football side from the firing of Ed Hervey?
- Are the B.C. Lions going to be the frontrunners in the West as many predict?
I don't know about you, but I get tingles thinking about all of these stories.
7 - KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: The Rider Nation is growing restless. You only have to step outside your front door to figure that out. Or feel it. We are now 17 days away from training camp in Saskatoon and that's what everyone prefers to talk about.
Predictions really are only worth the paper they're written on and the truth is no one knows how this season will play out.
But the pressure on Chris Jones has ramped up exponentially because of the Durant trade and the latest wave of fines from the CFL. That's the sense I get from fans everywhere I go.
They're willing to put up with whatever moves Jones makes but only if they translate to wins.
The honeymoon is over and there will be no grace period.
The time is now.
8 - FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: Apparently the Riders' John Murphy said on the SportsCage in Florida that they feel they have a "playoff-calibre" team in Saskatchewan in 2017.
Honestly I don't recall him saying that but several fans latched onto it, and have brought it up since our return from Vero Beach, FL.
But what's there to say about that? I would hope that a year into this regime, the franchise would at the very least be a contender to make the playoffs.
It would've grabbed more headlines - and been more comforting - if Murphy had labelled this crew a "Grey Cup championship-calibre" team.
However I suppose you have to walk before you can run and you can't win the Grey Cup without achieving the playoffs first. Even if it were a crossover playoff berth, I think we'd all gladly take it after what's gone on the past few years around here.
Jones knows how to get to the Grey Cup and Murphy knows how to find players.
I still believe that's a great combination and the Riders are in good hands.
They plan to do their talking on the field.
9 - SOCCER COMES TO MOSAIC STADIUM: These are incredibly exciting times right here in little ol' Regina. The Riders are on the cusp of training camp, the Pats are in the WHL Finals and now On Ice Sports is bringing the first-ever pro soccer game to new Mosaic Stadium on July 22 when Valencia FC faces the New York Cosmos.
Tickets are affordably priced from $22-$66 and I think there will be a much larger crowd there than you think. Not surprisingly, the Roughriders will have to be on the road for an event such as this to take over their stadium and on July 22 Saskatchewan is at Calgary.
Clearly I'd rather be in Calgary for that, but am also disappointed to have to miss history being made in our new facility.
For $22 bucks, I'd go just for the curiousity factor alone. I'm not a soccer fan in any way, shape or form but it's not about that.
10 - SMILIN' HANK RETURNS: The annual Regina Thunder Dinner of Champions is Friday, May 26 featuring Henry Burris and there are still plenty of tickets available at www.reginathunder.ca. Burris is making the rounds on the banquet circuit and, I'm told, is finally divulging the reason he left Saskatchewan way back in 2005.
I'd suggest the only trouble with that is no one cares anymore. When the Riders stomped Burris and the Ticats in the 2013 Grey Cup, that whole "villain" thing went up in smoke.
You don't hear the chant "HENNNNNNNRRRYYYYYYYYYY" anymore at all.
Maybe Hank can be serenaded with it on May 26 at the Delta.
THAT'S IT! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4
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