2 - IN THE PADDOCK: After a 48-hour cooling off period, John Paddock met with the media on Wednesday and said they've got 3 different plans to attack this lengthy hiatus. However the Pats boss exercised his right not to divulge any of them. SportsCage listeners texted into the show with a variety of suggestions including playing local Senior AAA teams or assembling a team of WHL and NHL Alumni for the Pats to practice against (on QCSEG's dime). I'm just glad I'm not in charge of attacking this 46-day respite. Paddock said the players have been sent home until April 9 and then after that, we'll start to see what the plan is.
3 - ROUND 2: Many area hockey fans asked why I wasn't at the mic for Game 7 in Swift Current but the fact is I had a SportsCage show to host and didn't feel like uprooting Mike Abou-Mechrek and Luc Mullinder to the Frontier City. CKRM and the SportsCage come first. It still hasn't been decided whether Access will carry subsequent WHL playoff rounds and remember that Moose Jaw and Swift Current are Shaw communities - not Access - and the decision ultimately rests in the hands of the WHL. Stay tuned.
4 - WARRIORS OR BRONCOS?: Broncos or Warriors? It would be trite to say I don't care who wins the Round 2 TransCanada series so I'll say I'm cheering for both. Obviously Memorial Cup organizers would be pleased to see either team advance to the tournament in Regina because their fans will fill the Brandt Centre. I do business with both teams and have friends on both staffs. It was way more fun in the days of needing an RCMP escort into their arenas and receiving death threats from their fans but those days are long gone. I guess you need to grow up some time!
5 - OTHER JUNIOR HOCKEY: The Estevan Bruins are a win away from a Conference Final appearance for the first time since the turn of the millenium. They lead the Battlefords 3-1 in games in an SJHL semifinal series. Meanwhile in the other, Nipawin leads Humboldt 2-1. ... In the PJHL Saskatchewan final, the Regina Capitals lead the Delisle Chiefs 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Friday in Delisle.
6 - THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING: Since Marks CFL Week ended there has been a scarcity of 3 Down news. Which city will host the 2019 Grey Cup? What's happening with the Halifax expansion franchise application? We were led to believe there would be announcements on both by now. Rest assured there's a flurry of activity behind-the-scenes but silence doesn't sell tickets.
7 - THE SUNSHINE STATE: Wednesday marks 20 days until the Saskatchewan Roughriders' annual Florida minicamp at IMG Academy in Bradenton. 40-some players will participate (mostly CFL rookies) along with all of the Riders' veteran QBs. That means that will be our first good look at Zach Collaros in Green & White. The SportsCage will be broadcasting live from Florida on April 23, 24, 25 with Luc Mullinder and me and we'll have wall-to-wall coverage and analysis.
8 - CFL WEST PREDICTIONS: In the absence of meaningful topics, here are my 2018 CFL divisional predictions and the reasons why. 1) Saskatchewan. The Riders won 10 games without an entrenched starter last year and now with Zach Collaros, 13 wins aren't unreasonable. A Grey Cup appearance is expected. 2) Edmonton. Jason Maas and Brock Sunderland are becoming a formidable tandem and they employ the CFL's MVP. 3) Calgary. The Stampeders have lost some key pieces - mostly voluntarily - but they're still Calgary. They'll be in the playoffs. 4) BC. Ed Hervey is a proven GM and it's the Year of Wally. They'll be in the mix. 5) Winnipeg. Sorry Bomber fans, but somebody has to be last.
9 - CFL EAST PREDICTIONS: 1) Toronto. Marc Trestman and Ricky Ray. 'Nuff said. 2) Hamilton. They need to take a major step forward with their top-heavy football ops department, and will. 3) Ottawa. Rick Campbell is proven but Trevor Harris is not. They'll take a step back. 4) Montreal. Just going with the crowd here.
10 - FEEL THE RUSH: The Saskatchewan Rush are home to the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday night at SaskTel Centre and it's Ladies Night. From what I've seen at Rush games, isn't every game Ladies Night? Goalie Evan Kirk was very leaky in the Rush's 13-10 home loss to Rochester two weeks ago but owner Bruce Urban feels it's better to face adversity now rather than in the playoffs. Saturday night represents a huge bounce-back opportunity.